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Call Me Maybe

Kidney admits he may have to send an SOS to axed O'Gara

Declan Kidney could face an out-half shortage if Paddy Jackson does not recover from a minor hamstring problem as quickly as expected.

AXED RONAN O’GARA could be thrown an international lifeline later this week as Declan Kidney mulls over his out-half conundrum.

Kidney left the 10 slot blank and did not specify which out-half will start when he named his team to face France earlier this afternoon.

The decision looks to be a straight one between Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan after Jonny Sexton failed to fully shake his hamstring injury and was ruled out of Saturday evening’s clash.

Kidney revealed that Jackson sat out this morning’s session with a tight hamstring, and though the young Ulster lad is expected to be fully fit by Thursday, the doubt leaves the door open for O’Gara’s possible recall.

“Just before I walked in the decision was taken to withdraw Jonny Sexton but Paddy will be good to go for training on Thursday,” Kidney said.

Asked if O’Gara might need to be brought back in days after the decision to drop him seemingly signalled the end of an illustrious international career, Kidney said the 35-year-old is available if required.

Every player is available to us and we’ll call in players when and were we deem fit. At the moment, we don’t need to call up anybody.

Kidney said that he has already decided on his starting out-half and insisted that there would be no awkwardness with O’Gara if he does return later this week.

“Absolutely not. No, I’d be delighted. It was no fun whatsoever leaving him out. I’d be only too delighted to have him back.”

The inclusion of Fergus McFadden on the wing gives another kicking option and though the Leinster man will join Jackson and Madigan at practice tomorrow, Kidney was clear that the two orthodox 10s will be his first-choice options for shots at goal this weekend.

On Sexton’s recovery, Kidney was hopeful that he will be fully fit for next week’s final match against Italy in Rome.

He ran out fully this morning, reached top speeds, but some times there’s a balance between what’s right for the player and what’s right for the team.

The easy thing would be to put Jonny out now but then because the muscle needs to build up its strength. It needs just another week to build up to be right for the following week.

Ireland (v France): R Kearney; F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, L Marshall, K Earls; P Jackson/I Madigan, C Murray. C Healy, R Best, M Ross; M McCarthy, D Ryan; P O’Mahony, S O’Brien, J Heaslip (capt.)

Replacements: S Cronin, D Kilcoyne, S Archer/M Bent, D O’Callaghan, I Henderson; E Reddan, P Jackson/I Madigan, L Fitzgerald.

Ireland undecided on Jackson or Madigan as Sexton fails fitness test

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