THE COUNTDOWN IS well and truly on to next month’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Ireland management and players held a press conference this afternoon ahead of Saturday’s first warm-up game with Scotland.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport’s Michael Corcoran at Carton House, team manager Paul McNaughton said: “We have several players who are on the injury list. Most of them are ‘legacy’ injuries from last season. Obviously (Stephen) Ferris and (Gordon) D’Arcy are the most serious of those.
“Stephen had injury problems all the way through the second half of last season and unfortunately Gordon picked up an ankle injury in the Heineken Cup final that had to be operated on.
“They are the two guys who are higher on the injury list though we are still hopeful. They are making progress and we are still hopeful that they will win the race to get on the plane to New Zealand.”
Across the channel, Martin Johnson has culled his squad. Joe Worsley is set to miss out on playing in his fourth World Cup after being cut from England’s training squad.
The 78-cap Wasps back-row forward is one of five players to have been released today by manager Johnson.
He’s joined on the bus home by Leicester pair, hooker George Chuter and number eight Thomas Waldrom, along with Saracens wing David Strettle and Gloucester back James Simpson-Daniel. Johnson has retained a 40-man squad to begin preparations for England’s forthcoming back-to-back internationals against Wales.
Johnson said in a Sky Sports interview earlier:
“Thomas had an injury to his calf and he hasn`t been able to train that much. He has gone back to Leicester to participate in their pre-season. The other decisions have all been tough because everyone has participated and contributed. It is particularly tough on Stretts (Strettle) because he has trained very, very well.