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Kilcoyne and Ryan in race to be fit for sold-out Fiji clash after missing training

Leinster’s Michael Bent has been called into the Ireland squad as injury cover.

Ryan sustained a bang after coming off the bench against South Africa.
Ryan sustained a bang after coming off the bench against South Africa.

DAVE KILCOYNE AND James Ryan missed Ireland’s squad session at Carton House this morning, with both now in a race to prove their fitness ahead of Saturday’s Test against Fiji.

The pair came off the bench as second half replacements during the 38-3 victory over South Africa at the weekend, but have been nursing knocks which forced them out of training earlier.

Ireland skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy said Munster prop Kilcoyne and Leinster’s Ryan should shake off their respective bangs to be in contention for the weekend, but will now have just one session to work their way into Joe Schmidt’s plans.

For Kilcoyne, who has enjoyed an outstanding start to the season with Munster and was named on the bench ahead of Jack McGrath last weekend, it would be a real shame if injury was to deny him a chance from the off against Fiji.

Similarly for three-time capped Ryan, who will be targeting this second November international as a real opportunity to showcase his prodigious talent on the international stage following an impressive cameo against the Springboks.

Ireland also hope John Ryan will be back in camp in time for the third Test against Argentina after he returned to Munster for rehab on a calf issue he sustained during Saturday’s record win.

With Ryan definitely out and Kilcoyne an injury doubt, Schmidt has called upon Michael Bent as injury cover and the Leinster prop trained with the rest of the squad this morning.

“There will be opportunities this week to change that up (the team) a little bit,” Murphy said.

Richie Murphy Ireland skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy speaking to the media earlier. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“It’s about taking us forward again. No matter what team goes out there it is Ireland and it’s a test match, we set a little bit of a bar last week (in terms of performance) and we want to make sure that we are moving forward and not taking a step back.

“The guys that get the jerseys have to take us forward onto the next level.”

As was confirmed yesterday, both Tommy O’Donnell and Dan Leavy have been ruled out of Fiji’s first visit to the Aviva Stadium, while Keith Earls won’t be fit in time to feature in the series having picked up that hamstring injury last week.

With changes expected this week and opportunities for the likes of Andrew Porter, Ultan Dillane, Rob Herring, Chris Farrell and Joey Carbery, Murphy added: “There is obviously really good confidence in the squad. We had some really big performances over the last while, what we want now is consistency and try and nail that down week in, week out — that gives another challenge this week.”

The Ireland squad will have a down day tomorrow before returning to camp for a final session on Thursday morning, after which Schmidt will name his side to face Fiji at a sold-out Aviva Stadium.

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