IRELAND’S TASK OF defeating New Zealand for the first time in 25 Test matches may get a whole lot harder if Mike Ross’ damaged hamstring rules him out of Saturday’s match at Eden Park.
Team manager Michael Kearney revealed on Monday afternoon (NZ Time) that the Leinster tighthead may not be ready in time to pack down against the world champions.
He said, “Mike Ross is rehabbing from his hamstring tear. It is going well but he hasn’t trained fully and remains in some doubt ahead of the weekend.”
The 32-year-old prop suffered a slight tear to his hamstring in the first half of the RaboDirect Pro 12 Final defeat to Ospreys on 27 May.
The concession from team management will worry Irish fans that witnessed their side’s scrum implode against England in the final game of this year’s Six Nations after Ross was forced off injured.
Tom Court, who replaced Ross that day, was ruled out of the summer tour with a fractured thumb so Ronan Loughney may get his first start in the green jersey in six days time.
Ulster’s Declan Fitzpatrick, who had a solid Heineken Cup semi-final outing against Edinburgh, is the other option.
Not all bad
Kearney, speaking at the team’s hotel on Auckland’s North Shore, had better news about other injury concerns, Cian Healy and Sean O’Brien. He commented:
Cian trained fully today and is good to go. Sean is continuing to rehabilitate well and he accelerated his rehab this morning. We are hopeful that he will be available for selection at the weekend.
Ireland name their team for the First Test on Thursday.
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