Madigan given opportunity to stake claim for Scots clash
Published 19/02/2013 | 04:00
Leinster out-half Ian Madigan has been handed a dramatic chance to force himself into contention for Sunday's crucial Six Nations clash against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Although Declan Kidney is unlikely to deviate from his intention to select Ronan O'Gara, expected to start ahead of Ulster's Paddy Jackson, Madigan's late inclusion in a squad after being repeatedly overlooked, has added much intrigue ahead of tomorrow's team announcement.
Ireland are still hopeful that Cian Healy, suspended for Sunday's game after being found guilty of stamping, may yet be available to face France on March 8 after the official written judgment was received from the Six Nations disciplinary committee.
A decision regarding an appeal will be made later today.
Ulster's Luke Marshall, a likely candidate to replace Gordon D'Arcy in midfield, will train today and remains in contention to start despite shipping knocks to both thighs while in action for Ulster last weekend.
Kidney, already missing a raft of regulars due to injury, was last night forced to add another casualty to the list when Ulster flanker Chris Henry was ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations.
"Following an MRI scan, it was confirmed that back-row Chris Henry suffered a cartilage tear to his right knee while playing last Friday," said an IRFU statement.
"The injury will require surgery and will rule Henry out of playing for approximately four weeks.
"Munster back-row Tommy O'Donnell has been called into the squad as cover for this week after making an appearance for the Ireland Wolfhounds at the end of January.
"Connacht centre Dave McSharry is also unavailable this week as he is still suffering from a niggling groin injury and so Ian Madigan has been called into the Irish camp."
Meanwhile, 13 additional players have been called up to join the Scotland squad for preparations for Sunday's match.
The only absentee from the 23 on duty in the victory against Italy nine days ago is Euan Murray, who is unavailable for round three for reasons of his Christian faith.
The players called up are forwards Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Tom Ryder, John Barclay, Alasdair Dickinson, Richie Vernon, Grant Gilchrist and backs Sean Kennedy, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie, Tom Heathcote and Nikki Walker.