Kidney picks squad for pre-season
July 16, 2009
Ireland's youngsters will be hoping to push on from their Churchill Cup win in August © Getty Images
Ireland coach Declan Kidney has named a 36-man squad for the Six Nations champions' pre-season training camp in Belfast.
The group will be light on top names when they assemble for the three day get-together on August 26 with the sizeable Lions contingent granted extended leave. The squad will instead contain members of the Churchill Cup winning squad as well as those who toured North America plus some who did not travel at the end of the domestic season.
Jerry Flannery returns to the fold after hand injury ruined his Lions hopes but Tomás O'Leary remains sidelined with the broken ankle that ruled him out of the tour to South Africa. Meanwhile, there is a chance for young out halves Jonathan Sexton, Niall O'Connor and Ian Keatley to stake a claim for the No.10 jersey as Ronan O'Gara is one of those remaining on their holidays.
Uncapped South African born prop Brett Wilkinson is one of nine front row players included as Kidney looks to assess his propping options with John Hayes entering the twilight of his career. He will be hoping to build on the growing reputations of players like Felix Jones, Fergus McFadden and Cian Healy before they are joined by the more recognisable faces of Brian O'Driscoll and co ahead of the November internationals.
Ireland Squad for Belfast training camp:
Backs: Gavin Duffy, Denis Hurley, Felix Jones, Ian Dowling, Shane Horgan, Johne Murphy, Andrew Trimble, Ian Whitten, Darren Cave, Fergus McFadden, Barry Murphy, Paddy Wallace, Ian Keatley, Jonathan Sexton, Niall O'Connor, Isaac Boss, Peter Stringer.
Forwards: Denis Leamy, John Muldoon, Chris Henry, Niall Ronan, Shane Jennings, Donnacha Ryan, Devon Toner, Leo Cullen, Mick O'Driscoll, Ryan Caldwell, Mike Ross, Cian Healy, Brett Wilkinson, Marus Horan, Tony Buckley, Tom Court, Jerry Flannery, Sean Cronin, Dennis Fogarty.
Jonny Wilkinson is the face of Toulon but whisper it, they might be a better team without him. Paul Eddison examines the case for dropping the talisman
"It does sometimes get tough as you get older, but there's nothing else I'd rather do." Tom Hamilton talks to fly-half Dan Carter
Stingers, a rampaging Fijian and two Dannys looking to be champions of the world - Monday Maul looks at some key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring