Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal is set to be fit for next month’s three Test tour of New Zealand after illness had seriously affected his eyesight, preventing his participation at the Six Nations.
Anthony Foley filled in for Smal at the time and it was feared the 50 year-old would not have recovered sufficiently in time for the tour of the Antipodes. Those fears have been allayed this week however, with Smal understood to have made a full recovery at this stage.
Ireland have a warm-up match with the Barbarians in Gloucester on 29th May and this weekend’s RaboDirect Pro12 semi-finals involving Munster and Leinster will have a significant bearing on the squad selected for that encounter.
If both provinces progress to the Pro12 final on 26th May, the squad for Gloucester is likely to be made up mainly of Connacht and Ulster players, many of whom will not travel to New Zealand.
Head coach Declan Kidney will name the squad for New Zealand during the week after the Ulster v Leinster Heineken Cup final (which takes place on 19th May) with it expected that as many as 30 may travel.