Fergus McFadden looks set for a call up to Ireland’s senior squad ahead of next week’s Six Nations opener against Italy as the injury crisis deepened for Declan Kidney yesterday.
John Hayes, Jamie Heaslip and Shane Horgan are the latest players to withdraw from the initial side due to injury. Heslip is expected to make Ireland’s second game of the season against France but the other pair are likely to miss both matches.
Horgan’s injury means that coach Declan Kidney has little cover in the back three, with winger Andrew Trimble ruled out earlier in the week and full-backs Rob Kearney and Geordan Murphy out long term. Tommy Bowe is also doubtful pending the results of a medical examination on a knee injury.
The in-form McFadden, who has starred on the wing for Leinster this season now looks in a strong position to step up from the “A” side. It is possible that he will be withdrawn from that squad and called up to the senior side later in the week.
Hooker Rory Best and flanker Stephen Ferris are slight concerns, battling rib and knee injuries respectively. Jerry Flannery had already been ruled out of the Italy and France games.
“It may not look good, it’s a few more injuries than we would have liked, but it’s a chance for other guys,” said defencive coach Les Kiss.