Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Kidney facing selection dilemma

Declan Kidney

The full-back position will be giving Ireland coach Declan Kidney the biggest headache as he finalises his 30-man squad for the World Cup.

Kidney names his party for New Zealand at lunchtime today with most of the names picking themselves.

But the identity of who will supply back-up to Rob Kearney in the number 15 jersey is unknown, with the decision potentially having repercussions for the back three.

Felix Jones, who had an outside chance of making the squad, has been ruled out of contention after sustaining a foot injury in Saturday's 26-22 defeat by France.

Geordan Murphy was picked to play for the second string against Connacht in midweek, so it would take a U-turn for Kidney to turn to the Leicester three-quarter now.

Luke Fitzgerald and Keith Earls are options, though neither are specialists in the position.

Openside David Wallace was withdrawn from the team to face France at Aviva Stadium because of a hamstring strain, but is expected to be fit.

His fellow back row Stephen Ferris, a destructive blindside when fit, is sure to be included after negotiating 20 minutes on Saturday.

Hooker Jerry Flannery, who has been dogged by calf injuries for the past year, will also travel after playing 60 minutes across three games so far this month.

Once Kidney has unveiled his squad, he must turn his attention to halting a run of three successive defeats. England complete Ireland's pre-World Cup schedule when they visit Dublin on Saturday.

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