Declan Kidney’s two day Ireland training camp has been somewhat overshadowed by a number of withdrawals following the weekend’s Rabo ProDirect12 action.
Gordon D’Arcy took a knock to his ribs and is unable to train, with uncapped Munster centre James Downey called up to replace him.
Outhalf Ronan O’Gara has a dead leg and is also unable to train, so the uncapped Leinster back Ian Madigan joins the squad.
Scrumhalf Paul Marshall comes into the squad in place of Eoin Reddan who was unable to play at the weekend due to a leg injury.
Prop Ronan Loughney comes into the squad in place of Declan Fitzpatrick, who is continuing rehab on a knee injury in Ulster.
Second row Mike McCarthy picked up a calf knock and is replaced by Leinster second row Devin Toner.
The final change is Simon Zebo, who turned an ankle and is unable to train. Craig Gilroy replaces him in the training squad.
The 33-man Ireland squad had been announced last week for a training camp in preparation for the new season which begins in November with the Autumn Internationals.
Kidney had announced a squad full of both experience and youth to try to integrate some of the players unfamiliar with the rigours of international competition, but his hand has been forced somewhat due to the robust action of the weekend gone.
The uncapped players in the squad are forward David O’Callaghan, centre Luke Marshall and former Ireland Under-20 international Iain Henderson, who impressed during the recent IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa.
It is unlikely any of the three will take part in the Autumn Internationals unless there are injuries but Kidney has stressed that the experience gained at such camps can be vital to a young player’s development and the door for selection is wide open according to the Munster man.
A squad for the Autumn Internationals will be announced in late October following the completion of the Heineken Cup second round, but the upcoming camp is all about the players getting back into the swing of things as Kidney himself has stated.
“At this stage of the season it is about building foundations,” said the Ireland coach. “It is vital to get the players together to do that.”
“A number of them have yet to play, but it was important to include some of them from a positional sense for this camp, such as Paul (O’Connell) and Rory (Best), as well as other players who missed the summer tour.
“There are a number of players who are not included due to injuries and will continue their rehab and their pre-season work in their provinces, but with more playing time and a lot of high level games to come, there is certainly time for them to push for their inclusion in the squad for the games in November.”
The initial 33-man squad was as follows before aforementioned changes:
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
Sean Cronin (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster)
Denis Hurley (Dolphin/Munster)
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
David O’Callaghan (Dolphin/Munster)
Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster)
Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)
Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster)
Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)