Sunday 18 March 2018

Dillane and Van der Flier miss out on Ireland squad

Josh van der Flier. Photo: Sportsfile
Josh van der Flier. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Josh van der Flier's shoulder injury has cost him his place in the Ireland squad, while Ultan Dillane has surprisingly been left out of the 34-man group to play France on Saturday.

The Leinster flanker was forced off after 13 minutes of Friday's win over Edinburgh and an update on the severity of the damage to his AC joint is expected from Irish management today.

Dillane was replaced after 63 minutes for Connacht on Saturday, but he did not appear to be injured and neither did Pat Lam voice any concerns afterwards. His provincial team-mate Quinn Roux is preferred to him.

Joey Carbery hasn't done enough to force his way back in, with Joe Schmidt opting to keep Ian Keatley in his squad ahead of the 21-year old, who has just returned from an ankle injury.

Andrew Conway is the only uncapped player included as he is rewarded for his excellent form with Munster this season. Finlay Bealham, however, has been omitted.


With Van der Flier set for a spell out, a spot on the bench has been vacated. Assuming Peter O'Mahony comes through this week unscathed, he will provide cover against France on Saturday, but Dan Leavy will be eagerly waiting in the shadows.

Anyone who witnessed Leavy's performance in the 2012 Schools Senior Cup final knew he was destined for big things and, although it has taken a bit of time, the 22-year-old looks ready to take the next step in a career that promises much.

On Friday night, it took Leavy less than a minute to make an impact as he stole a ball - which is fast becoming a trademark - before going on a barnstorming run that led to Leinster's first try.

Leavy is a menace at the breakdown and his ability to pilfer opponent's ball makes him a nightmare to play against.

Capped for the first time against Canada in November, Leavy has since spent plenty of time in Carton House and made a real impression on the Irish coaches.

With the plethora of back-row talent at Leinster, Leavy knows that he must win his place in the starting XV before looking for international recognition, but he must feel that isn't far away.

"I am always hoping, we will have to wait and see," he said in regard to his prospects of being involved against France.

"I thought I put up my hand. It is not my decision at the end of the day.

"I'm good and I am starting to get a bit of momentum out on the pitch. I can put my hand up to Leo (Cullen) and Joe (Schmidt) and say I am playing well and am fit. If an opportunity arrives, now I can take it."

Irish Independent

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