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Van der Flier sidelined but Kearney and Carbery 'ready to rock and roll'

Dan Leavy is back in the Ireland squad for the final Six Nations game against Wales, while Ross Byrne has been released back to Leinster.

JOSH VAN DER Flier has been ruled out of Ireland’s final Six Nations game against Wales, but Rob Kearney, Joey Carbery and Dan Leavy are all pushing to be fit for Saturday’s clash in Cardiff [KO 2.45pm, Virgin Media 1].

Leinster flanker van der Flier lasted just 24 minutes of last weekend’s win over France at the Aviva Stadium, with the IRFU today confirming he suffered a groin injury and has been released from the squad for round five.

Josh van der Flier goes off injured JVDF suffered a groin injury against France. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Leavy, who has not played since Leinster’s Pro14 win over Connacht in January, has struggled to shake off a calf problem but having been called into Joe Schmidt’s panel, is due to train fully at Carton House this afternoon.

The 24-year-old is the only player called up for the trip to the Principality Stadium, with Leinster’s Ross Byrne released from the squad now that Carbery is pushing for a return from his hamstring injury.

The Munster out-half has missed the last two games against Italy and France but will take a full part in Tuesday’s squad session and, should he hit the required markers, is due to come back into contention for the matchday 23.

Kearney, who was a late withdrawal with calf tightness on Sunday, will also ‘get his boots on this afternoon’, according to Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek, and hope to come through the training week before Thursday’s team announcement.

“Rob and Joey Carbery, we’ll see how they go this afternoon,” Feek said. “They’re getting their boots on and we’ll have a light run around.

“At the moment, they’re ready to rock and roll [for Saturday]. It was a precautionary thing for Rob last week so we’re hoping that he’s fine but again he’s the best judge of that at the end of the day. Getting out there with the boots on will be the key factor.”

On the fitness of Leavy and whether he’ll be available for Wales, Feek added: “We got him in to make sure he’s all good. He’s been in the squad before and it’s just to see how things go with him this afternoon and the other guys as well.

Joey Carberry with Rob Kearney Carbery and Kearney in the gym this morning. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“The short turnaround is what it is, it doesn’t affect our preparation. We’ve done it before and we’ll see how today goes. Make sure we get those crucial boxes ticked.”

Having missed out on selection last weekend after reporting soreness in training, Munster’s Tadhg Beirne will be eager to push his cause this week as he waits for his Six Nations debut. 

“Tadhg is looking pretty good as well,” Feek reported. “He’s got his hand up for selection and he’ll train again today.”

Robbie Henshaw [dead leg] has been again ruled out through injury, while there is again no place for Leinster’s Sean Cronin in the squad.

Ireland squad:

Backs: Bundee Aki, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Tom Farrell, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Kieran Marmion, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

Forwards: Rory Best, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Dan Leavy.

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Ryan Bailey

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