Sunday 21 January 2018

World Cup boost as Grand Slam trio to face Scots

Jerry Flannery: possible return this weekend. Photo: Getty Images
Jerry Flannery: possible return this weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Hugh Farrelly

IRELAND'S Grand Slam trio of Jerry Flannery, Rob Kearney and Tomas O'Leary could make their return to international action this weekend when Declan Kidney names his side today for the first World Cup warm-up game against Scotland.

Hooker Flannery has not played for Ireland since the loss to France in Paris last year, having been dogged by a calf injury, while full-back Kearney's last match was the November International against New Zealand -- when he sustained the knee injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

O'Leary played against Italy and France in February but was ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations in a season dominated by injury. Since 2008, he has been the first-choice scrum-half when fit.

While Scotland have named a near full-strength side, Kidney is expected to hold back some of his front-liners, and players such as Mike McCarthy, Tom Court, Tony Buckley, Leo Cullen and Donnacha Ryan are in the mix for selection.

With Gordon D'Arcy and Stephen Ferris not being considered, Paddy Wallace and Denis Leamy could earn places in the midfield and back-row, respectively.

Ireland have won six of their last seven trips to Murrayfield, their sole defeat coming in the 2007 World Cup warm-up match there four years ago.

Irish Independent

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