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Here's how Ireland's injured XV could line up

And when you can expect to see them back on a rugby field.

THERE WERE PLENTY of relatively unfamiliar names on the squad list released by Joe Schmidt yesterday. In all, there were players involved in the summer tour to Argentina who were not called up for the November internationals.

A few were down to pure selection preference from the Kiwi, but most are down to injury.

For the Tests against South Africa, Georgia and Australia Schmidt has drawn a line through four front rows, three locks, two back-rows and six backs because of injury.

If they were all fit (and everyone else was injured) here’s how we would line them up if they could do things like walk, run and play rugby and stuff.

1. Cian Healy

Cian Healy and Iain Henderson arrive for training 4/3/2014 The squad was let out in alphabetical order when Cian and Iain were papped on the way to training. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The brilliant loosehead suffered an awful sounding hamstring injury and could be out for as many as four more months. Here’s hoping he can stage a quick recovery and force his way back into contention during the Six Nations.

2. Damien Varley

Munster have not specified a rehabilitation time-frame for the hooker after he underwent surgery on a foot injury this week.

3. Martin Moore

Mike Ross’ would-be replacement will have to wait until 2015 to get back vying for the number three shirt. Moore faces another 10 weeks sidelined with a shoulder injury picked up against Zebre.

4. Donnacha Ryan

A  month ago, the 30-year-old Munster lock was ruled out for four to six months after toe surgery. Hopefully we’ll see the Tipperary man back in action with plenty of time to make a late push for a World Cup place.

5. Dan Touhy

A fractured arm in the Pro12 win over Cardiff last month means the English-born Irish international will miss out on at least another month of rugby.

6. Mike Sherry

Mike Sherry and Donnacha Ryan Varley and Ryan hard at work in the build-up to the Six Nations.

There ain’t enough room in this team for two hookers, so for these purposes, Sherry lost the toss of the coin for the number two shirt and the more mobile Munster man will pack down at blindside.

The 26-year-old will be out until (at worst) February with a shoulder injury.

7. Sean O’Brien (Captain)

A recurrence of the shoulder injury that kept him out of the Six Nations will keep O’Brien away from the Springboks and Wallabies.

It’s only three weeks since the Tullow Tank was ruled out for five or six months, so still a long way to go.

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8. Iain Henderson

More mobile than his rivals for a second row jersey, so we’ve put him where he wrought havoc at schools level.

After surgery on his hip, ‘Llama’ is not likely to feature again until 2015.

9. Luke Fitzgerald

Thankfully, Fitzgerald is nearing a comeback from hip and abdominal injuries, but the length and frequency of his time away from the pitch left Schmidt no option but to leave him with Leinster for the month.

Placed at scrum-half here due to a lack of options in the position, and we fancy his passing from the base would be top drawer.

10. Luke Marshall

A weekend medial ligament injury to his left knee ruled the centre out for six weeks. Placed at number 10 in this team because of his experience in the role at schools level.

Luke Marshall Marshall in action against Argentina during the summer. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

11. Fergus McFadden

Leinster’s hard-working wing faces another month on the sidelines after picking up an ankle injury in the Pro12 home defeat to Munster.

12. Jordi Murphy

The back row is about halfway through a 12-week recovery from shoulder surgery on a problem he first complained of in the closing stage of last season.

The extra bodies at hooker and second row in this injured XV have forced him to play out of position, but he’d be an imposing ball carrier to take down when running from off the 10′s shoulder.

13.  Keith Earls

One of four injured backs who play centre as well as wing, we’ve given Earls the nod in the outside channel so that his pace can compliment Murphy’s power.

Keith Earls Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Earls’ patellar tendon was under the knife at the end of last month and is expected back in the New Year (though it could be as far out as February).

14. Andrew Trimble

As one of Ireland’s best performers in the Six Nations finale, we’ve given him his best position in this line-up. The Derry man picked up a toe injury in the Pro12 win over Glasgow and has been ruled out for an unspecified period of months due to ‘serious ligament damage’ in his toe.

15. Dave Kearney

Like Fitzgerald, Kearney is close to a comeback from a knee injury but not close enough to stake a claim in Schmidt’s plans. We’re given him a shot at the brother’s mantle in this side.

Open thread: Who would you pick as Ireland’s starting XV

The autumn five: Here are the new faces in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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