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Ed Byrne set for New Zealand call-up as Farrell bolsters prop options

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Ed Byrne is set for an Ireland call up

Ed Byrne is set for an Ireland call up

Ed Byrne is set for an Ireland call up

Leinster prop Ed Byrne is set for an Ireland call-up as Andy Farrell looks to cover his front-row bases for the Test series against the All Blacks.

The Carlow native is understood to be en route to New Zealand after playing for the Barbarians against Spain last weekend.

Byrne has not been involved with Ireland since winning his sixth cap against the United States a year ago.

Andrew Porter's switch to loosehead has seen him slip down the pecking order for club and country, but his recent game and knowledge of the system appears to have edged him ahead of his rivals.

Byrne's call-up is a reaction to the head injury suffered by Jeremy Loughman in the defeat to the Maori All Blacks, while there are major doubts about Cian Healy's fitness.

The veteran came off on a buggy after landing awkwardly in Hamilton, but he's been named on the bench for the opening Test.

It remains to be seen if he'll be fit to play and, I'd not, Farrell will have the option of picking Finlay Bealham or Byrne to cover loosehead, with Tom O'Toole available if Bealham is required.

The All Blacks also have prop concerns and Maori tighthead Tyrel Lomax has been promoted to the senior squad with Nepo Laulala struggling with a knee injury.

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