Donnacha Ryan salutes Munster fans at The Stoop. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland
on call

"If the Lions called Donnacha Ryan up tomorrow, he could play"

Ireland coach Les Kiss says the Munster lock has been rested from summer tour duty but would be ready to play Australia.

IRELAND INTERIM COACH Les Kiss has revealed that Munster lock Donnacha Ryan may be in with a chance of touring with the British and Irish Lions as an injury replacement.

Ryan, who played through the [shoulder and back] pain barrier for province and country this season, was not included in the 28-man squad to tour North America but Kiss suggested that a call from Lions coach Warren Gatland may pitch him into Lions action Down Under.

While other possible injury replacements, Tim Visser [Scotland] and Dan Biggar [Wales] have been included on respective summer Test squads, the English trio of Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Chris Ashton have been excused from international duty. Ryan was not one of the seven Irish players mentioned as ‘injured’ by the IRFU this morning. Kiss told

In Donnacha’s case, he could play; there’s no doubt. If the Lions called him up tomorrow, he could play. It’s just an opportunity for him to have a bit of rest and recovery. He’s still working on a programme with Munster as we currently speak. In the context of this tour, it was an opportunity to give a couple of guys a rest.

Asked if he thought Ryan stood a chance of getting a Lions call-up, as an injury replacement, Kiss replied, “He definitely does but I’m not privvy to anything and I don’t think any stand-by list has been announced. Most players are on stand-by. If they have any injuries they’ll call [players] up and, if they call players from our squad, we’ve got plans to replace them.”

Kiss told that he will remain in the Ireland coaching set-up after the summer tour. He asked incoming head coach Joe Schmidt if he wanted a greater input on selection but the New Zealander’s contribution went no further than ‘a quick look, and he certainly he some interesting things to say’.

Les Kiss at this morning’s press briefing. (©INPHO/Billy Stickland)

Schmidt, he added, would be over to America and Canada ‘at some stage’ but he is happy to defer on tactical and selection decisions to the former rugby league player. Kiss said:

I’ve known Joe since he came here and I worked with him, briefly, before at the beginning of his Leinster tenure… I’ve seen how he operates and I’m looking forward to [working together]. Whenever there is change it’s exciting and interesting because there are a lot of expectations about how Ireland can perform and rightly so.”

He paid tribute to former Ireland coach Declan Kidney, who he worked under for just under five years and described as “exceptional”.

Isaac Boss is one of three scrum-halves named in the squad and Kiss believes his experience will be needed to marshal a backline that may well include Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo and Stuart Olding. The intention, said Kiss, is to give exposure to the other 9′s, Kieran Marmion and Paul Marshall, and young backs Olding and Henshaw.

Ulster Rugby, meanwhile, have released a statement confirming that winger Craig Gilroy has an ongoing groin niggle. The province and IRFU agreed that he should not be considered for selection to give him a chance to rest and recover.

– Additional reporting by Sean Farrell

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