Monday 21 January 2019

Australia v Ireland, third test: Curious case of Dave Kilcoyne muddies selection picture

Dave Kilcoyne. Photo: Sportsfile
Dave Kilcoyne. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Days after starting loosehead prop Cian Healy was forced off early in the second half of Ireland's win over Australia with an injury to his AC joint, Dave Kilcoyne joined the squad's training session at the North Sydney Oval yesterday.

However, the 29-year-old Munster man is not part of the squad, according to the IRFU, who explained that he was simply travelling in the general vicinity of Ireland's tour and was invited to join them for a training session.

Joe Schmidt only selected two recognised looseheads for the tour in Healy and Jack McGrath, with Andrew Porter and John Ryan both capable of covering the position in an emergency.

However, Kilcoyne is the recognised third choice in the position having come off the bench in the November Tests against South Africa and Argentina and would be a logical replacement if Healy was to miss out.

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Forwards coach Simon Easterby appeared surprised to be asked about the prop at a media briefing in Sydney.

Asked if there had been any additions to the squad, the former flanker replied: "Not to the official squad, no, no one's come in."

He was then queried about Kilcoyne's presence at training.

"He has been in for just today. He's not been made officially part of the squad," he said. "He was travelling.

"He's not been officially named in the touring party, but he is available as he's Irish-qualified,"

Healy was togged out to train in the torrential rain yesterday, but it appears Andrew Conway, Keith Earls and Garry Ringrose were among those whose workload was "managed".

Conway is still struggling with the hip-pointer problem that forced him off early in Saturday's game, while Dan Leavy was another who didn't train fully as he recuperates from a sternum issue.

Jordi Murphy would be the likely replacement for the flanker, while Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour are on stand-by if wingers Conway and Earls are unable to make it and Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw would renew their midfield partnership if Ringrose is stood down.

Iain Henderson has also recovered from the issue that ruled him of the second Test and he is in contention to partner James Ryan.

Easterby said "there will be some changes" to the match-day 23 for the final game of the season.

"There's always going to be an opportunity through a three-Test series, not only through injury but also through our need to try and get some exposure for some of the more inexperienced players," he said.

"We're not that far out from a World Cup and this has been a great tour for us to get to know players."

Irish Independent

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