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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 13 April 2021
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Stephen Ferris ruled out of Ireland tour to New Zealand

Kevin McLaughlin of Leinster has been called in as flanker as a calf strain rules out the Ulster talisman.

Stephen Ferris sat out training on Friday.
Stephen Ferris sat out training on Friday.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

A CALF STRAIN has ruled Irish flanker Stephen Ferris out of the three-match tour to New Zealand.

Team manager Michael Kearney revealed that the Ulsterman, who was in Santry on Friday for a scan on his calf, was ‘a serious doubt’ to face the All Blacks next month.

Speaking yesterday, Kearney said, “I think that there is a possibility that he may miss the tour, absolutely

“He is going over to Santry to have a specialist have a look at it so we’ll probably know a little more (after that). At the moment, he would have to be considered a very serious doubt.”

At 6pm on Saturday, the IRFU confirmed that Kevin McLaughlin of Leinster would take Ferris’ place on the tour.

Top performer

Ferris had been in fine form this season and was one of five nominees for the European Rugby Council Player of the Year award.

He bounced back from the disappointment of conceding the match-losing penalty against Wales to be Ireland’s star performer, along with Rob Kearney, of the Six Nations.

The 26-year-old was troubled with his calf in the Heineken Cup semi-final win over Edinburgh but he was as robust as ever during a 70-minute outing.

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He overcame an ankle injury earlier in the season and put in an 80-minute shift in the cup final at Twickenham last Saturday.

It appears that the calf strain was one injury too much.

Marshall chance

One Ulster player that could yet make the trip to the Southern Hemisphere is scrum-half Paul Marshall, who is first in line to replace the injured Isaac Boss.

Kearney said, “Isaac has been ruled out of the Rabo ProDirect final so we will continue to monitor him and see how he is over the next couple of days.

There was better news on the injury front as Paul O’Connell, Chris Henry and Brett Wilkinson have returned to light training.

“Paul is progressing well,” said Kearney. “He did some running today and he will be monitored over the next few days.” He added:

Chris Henry and Brett Wilkinson will both be involved against the Barbarians on Tuesday and they will be assessed afterwards.

Sean O’Brien had a ‘small procedure’ on his knee midweek that ruled him out of Leinster’s Pro12 final against Ospreys on Sunday but he should be fit to travel.

Cian Healy is recovering from a dead leg and facing a fitness test on Saturday afternoon. He has been named on the Leinster replacements bench.

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