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Ulster centre McCloskey called up to Ireland squad in New Zealand

His provincial team-mate James Hume suffered an injury against the Māori All Blacks.

McCloskey is joining Ireland in New Zealand.
McCloskey is joining Ireland in New Zealand.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND HAVE CALLED Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey into their squad in New Zealand.

McCloskey will join the group after provincial team-mate James Hume picked up a groin injury against the Māori All Blacks on Wednesday.

29-year-old McCloskey has six Ireland caps to his name and is coming off the back of a strong season for Ulster.

He is the third player to be added to Andy Farrell’s initial 40-man touring squad in New Zealand, following call-ups for Munster hooker Niall Scannell and Leinster loosehead prop Ed Byrne.

Ireland have been stretched by injuries early on in their tour.

Second row Iain Henderson’s trip was ended by a significant knee injury in training, while hooker Rob Herring also picked up a knock before the games had even begun.

Prop Jeremy Loughman suffered a concussion during Wednesday’s clash, while Hume was cut down by his groin injury in that fixture.

Ireland have also had to deal with wing Mack Hansen and tighthead prop Finlay Bealham testing positive for Covid-19.

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Bealham’s positive test meant Ireland drafted in former Leinster tighthead Michael Bent – who previously won four Test caps in green – to cover their matchday squad in today’s warm-up before the first Test. Bent played with Taranaki in the NPC last year after leaving Leinster. 

Loosehead prop Cian Healy was a major injury doubt for today’s first Test against the All Blacks and despite being named on the bench, he was an unused replacement. 

McCloskey will arrive in New Zealand targeting involvement in the second clash with the Māori in Wellington on Tuesday 12 July at least, but he may have a more extensive contribution to make on this tour if Ireland continue to suffer injury issues.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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