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Bowe and Heaslip to miss Six Nations opener

More bad news for coach Declan Kidney ahead of Six Nations opener in Rome.

Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe at the Guinness Storehouse this week.
Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe at the Guinness Storehouse this week.
Image: INPHO/Billy Stickland

THE INJURY PROBLEMS continue to mount for Declan Kidney today.

Tommy Bowe has now been conformed as a an absentee for the trip to Italy for the Six Nations opener next week.

Jamie Heaslip will also sit out the game on Saturday week.

A statement from the IRFU confirmed that Bowe’s knee injury is too serious for him to be allowed to play. It was reviewed by medical teams from the Ireland squad and his club team, the Ospreys.

Speaking at the RBS 6 Nations launch in London, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney said: “You never like to see guys injured – we know how much playing for Ireland means to those guys.”

We’ve tried to build a squad over the last few years and this will be the test of that. I have a huge belief in the way Irish rugby comes from the grassroots up.

Of course there won’t be as much video analysis on the new guys, so that will be an advantage.”

The IRFU statement added that Heaslip will continue his rehabilitation and has not yet been ruled out of contention for the France game the following week.

Fergus McFadden was called up to the senior squad yesterday and the 24-year-old is now a strong contender to make his international debut,

With the Ospreys man out, Ireland have now lost five contenders for places at wing or full-back. Rob Kearney, Geordan Murphy, Andrew Trimble and Shane Horgan are all hurt.

Kidney could more players from the ‘A’ squad after Friday night’s game against Scotland at Netherdale. The Corkman said those players “are very much in contention” for the Italy tie.

Skipper Brian O’Driscoll said that the tournament is now tougher than ever. “The Six Nations has definitely got harder over the years,” he said, “The game has become harder, more physical, more demanding.”

If you asked 100 players in the Six Nations how many of them were 100% fit; 99 would say they had some niggle and the other person would be a liar.

“It’s impossible to go out 100% fit these days because of the physicality, both at provincial and international level. But adrenaline is brilliant at getting you through those small ailments.

“The feeling you get in a winning dressingroom makes you forget the sore muscles and bones for a couple of hours.”

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