Jennings earns World Cup call
August 28, 2011
Leinster's Shane Jennings has earned a call-up to Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad © Getty Images
Ireland have called flanker Shane Jennings into their Rugby World Cup squad as a replacement for David Wallace, who sustained a knee injury in Saturday's 20-9 defeat by England at the Aviva Stadium.
Wallace was stretchered from the field midway through the first half of the game after twisting his knee while being tackled by England centre Manu Tuilagi. The Munster veteran was taken to hospital for scans on the injury and must now undergo surgery that will sideline him for the sport's showpiece event.
Coach Declan Kidney said after the match: "David took a very bad bang on the knee and while we don't know the exact prognosis, he has unfortunately been ruled out of the World Cup."
Kidney had been expected to name Wallace's replacement on Sunday, but an IRFU statement this evening confirmed Jennings had got the nod.
"Shane Jennings has been called into the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad as a direct replacement for David Wallace who was injured during the game against England this afternoon. Wallace suffered a serious knee ligament injury and will require surgery to repair the damage."
The IRFU also announced prop Cian Healy was a major doubt for Ireland's World Cup opener against the United States on September 11 after picking up an eye injury. "Cian Healy had taken a knock to his eye during the game and following further investigation has shown an injury to his eye socket," the statement continued.
"Medical advice has dictated that Healy's departure date for the tournament has been put back by four days, when he will then fly out to join up with the rest of the squad in New Zealand. The injury could rule Healy out of Ireland's first game in the tournament against the USA."
Kidney earlier admitted the withdrawal of Lions openside Wallace was "heartbreaking" for Ireland and the player.
"David took the news like the man he is. There's a word I'm not supposed to say in public, but it happens," he said. "You have to deal with these things. He's 35 and I've never seen a man as physically fit as he is right now. Never. It's heartbreaking for him and his family. It's extremely disappointing for us and will be good news for someone else. That's the cut-throat nature of sport."
A gruelling contest saw Ireland finish with a number of injury concerns, although apart from Wallace and Healy all are expected to be available to face the USA. Jerry Flannery (shin), Stephen Ferris (hand) and Jamie Heaslip (concussion) left the field early, but Kidney insists none have been ruled out of the World Cup opener.
Kidney eased concerns over Heaslip's condition. "Jamie had to come off, but has come around fine and is talking away to the lads," he said. "Hopefully with a bit of a rest he'll be okay."
Tries from Manu Tuilagi and Delon Armitage underpinned England's victory as Ireland slumped to a clean sweep of defeats in their World Cup warm-up games. Kidney had no regrets over agreeing such a strenuous build-up to the tournament.
"All of the lads have had around two games and they needed those two games," he said. "If you go to the World Cup you want to compete at the highest level. We wanted to challenge ourselves against England and France to know exactly where we are, and we know now.
"We've lost four in the series, which is extremely disappointing. That's not what we aimed for. No excuses to camouflage results, we're here to get results. We'll keep working and will get better."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September