Young stars set to be given Wolfhounds chance in Galway

Connacht players such as Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry should feature in an enticing line-up.

Reddan, McFadden, D'Arcy, Earls and Gilroy observe training.
Reddan, McFadden, D'Arcy, Earls and Gilroy observe training.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

THE SQUAD FOR Friday evening’s Ireland Wolfhounds clash with England Saxons at the Sportsground will be named at lunchtime today.

Ireland team manager Mick Kearney told yesterday that a decision on the participation big name players in the Irish squad had not been reached but the players have already been divided into separate training groups.

The Munster players were given the morning off but those that will feature, including Monday call-ups Ian Keatley and Tommy O’Donnell, will train as Wolfhounds this morning.

The Wolfhounds could line up with the Ulster duo of Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson as half-backs, Dave McSharry and Darren Cave in the centre, Luke Fitzgerald on one wing with Fergus McFadden on the other and Robbie Henshaw at the back.

Tom Court, despite his stellar outings for Ulster this season, may be asked to put in a 60-minute shift against a Saxons team that is likely to feature Paul Doran Jones – one of the props that destroyed Ireland’s front row at Twickenham last March.

It would be good to see Michael Bent getting some extended time in the green jersey as he may be required for tougher tests in the Six Nations.

Rhys Ruddock, a player that promises much but has been held back by injuries, will be included in the squad and will be hoping to start at blindside flanker.

Lewis Stevenson (Ulster) and Devin Toner (Leinster) should get a look in the second-row while James Coughlan benefits from a decent run of provincial form with Munster and the injury picked up by Ulster’s Roger Wilson at the weekend.

There are not too many players abroad putting their hand up for selection but no English, French or Cardiff Blues (Robin Copeland) players were included in the seven squad additions named by Kearney yesterday.

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With established stars such as Brian O’Driscoll, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney all gaining significant game time in the Heineken Cup this month, do not expect any major surprises.

Our confident prediction of the morning is that Leinster prop Mike Ross will not feature in the Wolfhounds squad. Watch this space.

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