Rónan Kelleher is Andy Farrell’s main injury concern as the Ireland head coach gets set to name his squad today for the upcoming summer tour to New Zealand.
ith both Leinster and Ulster having been knocked out of the URC semi-finals last weekend, Farrell has brought his squad announcement forward by a day.
An initial group gathered in Dublin yesterday, with the Ulster contingent due to arrive following their return from South Africa.
Kelleher is struggling with a shoulder injury that has hampered him throughout the season. Farrell will give his first-choice hooker every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the squad’s departure later this week.
If Kelleher was to miss out, Connacht’s Dave Heffernan is in line to deputise and join Dan Sheehan and Rob Herring in the squad of approximately 42 players.
Leinster out-half Harry Byrne could be in line for a recall, with Jack Carty sidelined through injury, while Byrne’s uncapped provincial team-mate Ciarán Frawley is also understood to be pushing hard for inclusion as a versatile back option.
Despite some calls for Johnny Sexton to be rested for the three-Test Series against the All Blacks, as well as two clashes with the Maori, leaving the veteran out-half at home isn’t believed to have been part of Farrell’s thinking and, as such, Sexton is fully expected to captain the squad.
Tadhg Furlong, James Lowe, Tadhg Beirne, Michael Lowry, and Robert Baloucoune are also injury concerns for Farrell, who will confirm his selection before addressing the media this afternoon.