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Ireland's Ronan Kelleher to fly out and link up with Lions following four-try haul in USA victory

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Rónan Kelleher of Ireland scores his side's fourth try

Rónan Kelleher of Ireland scores his side's fourth try

Rónan Kelleher of Ireland scores his side's fourth try

Ireland hooker Ronan Kelleher is expected to fly out to South Africa in the near future to join up with the Lions squad, in good time for the Test series which is scheduled to kick off in a fortnight.

Man of the match in the landslide win over the US Eagles, Kelleher scored four tries and came through the game safely despite suffering a high hit that saw a red card for Riekert Hattingh.

Kelleher trained with the Lions in Jersey before they headed to Edinburgh to take on Japan, and then onwards to South Africa. It’s understood Warren Gatland was keen to bring Kelleher at that point but the hooker had to return to Ireland for the Japan and US Tests.

Given the threat of Covid it makes sense for the tourists to have four hookers on hand. Live scrums in training would likely take out two hookers automatically if one of them tested positive. The presence of a fourth would allow for two separate units.

Kelleher’s four tries equalled Keith Wood’s record for a hooker, also set against the Eagles, in the 1999 World Cup.

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