With Keith Earls ruled out of the Ireland squad for the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia, the way is open for Ulster pair Andrew Trimble and Paddy Wallace to renew their claims.
The Munster centre/wing is the victim of a groin injury that has failed to respond to treatment and yesterday, following his participation in Southern Hemisphere-bound party’s Limerick training camp, the inevitable decision was taken.
Connacht's Gavin Duffy, who plays in midfield for the Ireland XV in tonight’s match against the Barbarians at Thomond Park, will now travel with the squad to New Zealand in place of the unfortunate Earls.
“Keith has had to be withdrawn from the tour because the injury hasn't responded as much as we had hoped and he wouldn't have been able to play any games,” said coach Declan Kidney.
The party for the three-date tour of New Zealand and Australia has been dogged by injury problems since first being named, with Ulster’s Rory Best, Munster’s Paul O'Connell and Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin all forced to withdraw.
Ireland, who fly out tomorrow, face the All Blacks on Saturday, June 12 at Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth,(8.35am GMT), New Zealand Maori at International Stadium, Rotorua on Friday, June 18 (8.35 GMT) and Australia at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane (11am GMT) on Saturday, June 26.