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Bowe and Fitzgerald ‘extremely close’ but not close enough for Ireland

Irish team manager Mick Kearney revealed that Robin Coepland was not included in the 33-man squad as he was unlikely to feature in the matchday 23.

Tommy Bowe will not feature against England this weekend.
Tommy Bowe will not feature against England this weekend.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

IRELAND TEAM MANAGER Mick Kearney has stressed that Tommy Bowe and Luke Fitzgerald’s still have a chance of featuring in this year’s Six Nations.

The Ulster and Leinster wingers were both omitted from the 33-man Irish squad this morning but Kearney has offered them hope of recalls later in the month. “Both Luke and Tommy are recovering from a similar injury to the lower abdominal muscles,” said Kearney. “Both were extremely close to playing at the weekend but the provincial and national medical teams are taking a very cautious approach as, with the nature of these injuries, they could easily progress to something worse.”

He added, “The hope would be that they might get action this weekend. They trained pretty fully last week and I think the expectation was that, right up to last Thursday, that Luke in particular would play.

From what the medical team are saying, they both should be fit for next weekend. If they play then there is every possibility that they will be available [for selection] for Italy and France.”

Isaac Boss sustained a concussive blow against Dragons last Friday after he was subject to a forceful and illegal tip tackle. Kearney revealed the scrum-half is ‘quite sore’ but still in contention for the matchday 23 against England as he is hitting all of his return to play protocols.

The team manager had positive news to report for squad members Jonathan Sexton, Donnacha Ryan and Eoin Reddan, all of whom came through weekend appearances unscathed. Darren Cave, he added, was not considered for the 33-man group as he is suffering from an abdominal injury.

Robin Copeland was not included in the squad as, Kearney commented, the Munster-bound forward was not likely to break into the matchday 23. Accordingly, and due to Rule 9 of the IRB’s player release agreement, Cardiff Blues would have been within their rights to call Copeland back on Tuesday if he was not going to be in the Ireland squad for the trip to Twickenham.

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Patrick McCarry

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