Friday 15 December 2017

McGrath and Kearney set to miss Emerging Ireland tie

Luke McGrath, Emerging Ireland, is tackled by Agustin Alonso, Uruguay.
Luke McGrath, Emerging Ireland, is tackled by Agustin Alonso, Uruguay.
David Kelly

David Kelly

The recurring dangers of concussion in the modern game have robbed Emerging Ireland of two key players for their next tie against hosts Romania on Sunday.

Both Luke McGrath and Michael Kearney sustained concussive injuries during the 51-3 win over Uruguay and have been stood down and will go through the return-to-play protocols. McGrath's issue is serious enough to force him to be flown back to Ireland and he will be replaced in the squad by Ulster's Michael Heaney. Kearney will remain with the squad for the remainder of the tournament.

Team management report that, apart from the usual bumps and bruises that are being managed by the medical team, the remainder of the squad are available for selection.

Both Romania and Emerging Ireland have recorded two victories in the Nations Cup, although Dan McFarland's team top the table courtesy of two bonus-point victories over Russia and Uruguay.

Meanwhile, Victor Matfield will become the most-capped player in South Africa's history when he makes his 112th appearance for the Springboks in the second Test against Wales in Nelspruit tomorrow.

It will also mark another important staging post in the 37-year-old's comeback from retirement. Matfield, who will captain the side, will surpass John Smit's record of 111 Tests.

South Africa replace lock Bakkies Botha and prop Gurthro Steenkamp with Flip van der Merwe and Tendai Mtawarira, while Wales bring in flank Josh Turnbull and prop Samson Lee for Aaron Shingler and Adam Jones.

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