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McLaughlin in to bolster Kidney options

KEVIN McLAUGHLIN has been brought into the Ireland squad ahead of next weekend's clash with Wales in Cardiff, while Tomas O'Leary returns after missing the win over Scotland.

McLaughlin (pictured) won his solitary cap against Italy last season and missed the first half of this season through injury. However, the 6'4" Leinster flanker has five 80-minute performances under his belt since January and could be ready for a return to international duty with his line-out ability a bonus.

Also among the 12 additions to the 22 that togged out against Scotland is Rhys Ruddock, part of an impressive back-row performance alongside McLaughlin and Dominic Ryan in Leinster's win over the Scarlets on Friday.

O'Leary has recovered from the back problems that ruled him out of the Scotland game as Ireland report "no major injury concerns", which suggests Leinster second-row Leo Cullen's groin problem that forced him off early on Friday is not as serious as first feared.

However, there is no room for Isaac Boss, one of the stars of Leinster's win over the Scarlets.

Fergus McFadden is another player looking for a way back into Declan Kidney's match-day 22 after a superb showing for Leinster on Friday. McFadden's ability to play centre or wing strengthens his case for inclusion on the bench.