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Another game down, another man down: Powerful lock Gallagher the latest worry for U20 semi-final

A shoulder injury has claimed an Irish player in each of their three games so far in the tournament.

Image: Camerasport/Dave Howarth/INPHO

THE ATTRITIONAL RATE of the World Rugby U20 Championship, with five games packed into 19 days, could be about to claim another victim with lock Cillian Gallagher doubtful to see out the tournament.

Ireland have lost a player a game so far, with prop Conor Kenny lasting just three minutes against Wales, while out-half Bill Johnston went off just after half-time against New Zealand.

Both suffered shoulder injuries and both went home and were replaced in the squad.

Now Gallagher, who was only added to the bench yesterday when captain James Ryan was not risked, is in a battle to stay involved. The second row is another shoulder, the issue forcing him to come off in the second-half of the 34-7 win over Georgia.

He underwent a scan this morning and a call could be made later today to see if he can continue in the tournament, with Ireland set to meet Argentina in the semi-finals on Monday.

Coach Nigel Carolan said they would monitor the situation before making a call.

Gallagher’s Sligo clubmate Matthew Cosgrove has been placed on standby should he be required.

Carolan’s attention has now turned to Argentina as Ireland, beaten by England in their only semi-final appearance two years ago, bid to reach the final for the first time against either hosts England or South Africa.

We’ll regroup, but certainly look forward with real interest at how things are going to turn out.

“We came here knowing that we can’t put out the same 15 every game. The attrition rate and the proximity of games means that we have to rotate the squad and we took a chance against Georgia.

“But we backed the players that we had and it’s great that those guys came up trumps and got the bonus point when it counted,” said Carolan.

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John Fallon

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