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Horgan's World Cup hopes over

Shane Horgan's faint hopes of forcing his way into Ireland's World Cup squad are finished after he was ruled out of the entire build-up to the tournament.

Horgan has enjoyed an outstanding season, scoring nine tries in 26 appearances for Leinster, and started the Heineken Cup final against Northampton.

The 32-year-old had given himself an outside chance of participating at the World Cup, only to see his prospects ruined by a knee injury that required surgery. Alongside Ulster duo Ian Humphreys and Nevin Spence (both shoulder), the Lions veteran has been excluded from the 43-man squad named for the first training camp of the summer.

An Irish Rugby Football Union statement read: "The only players unavailable for selection are Shane Horgan, Ian Humphreys and Nevin Spence, who all had to undergo surgery on long-standing injuries.

"The rehabilitation period is such that all three players will not be able to take part in the World Cup conditioning schedule to enable them to build up the required fitness levels. Also, none of these three players will be available for the games during the Guinness Summer Series in August."

Horgan's inability to feature in any of the warm-up games against Scotland, France (home and away), Connacht and England effectively ends any lingering ambition of forcing his way into coach Declan Kidney's plans. Leinster's Shane Jennings and Tony Buckley of Sale, however, remain in the mix.

The IRFU statement continued: "The squad includes several players who are in the process of returning from long-term injuries to begin their pre-season after lengthy lay-offs. Some short-term injury concerns were Shane Jennings, who broke an arm at the end of the season, and Tony Buckley, who had a procedure on a shoulder injury. It is expected that both will have healed sufficiently so as not to restrict the beginning of their conditioning programmes."

Felix Jones, Mike McCarthy, Conor Murray and Brett Wilkinson are the only uncapped players among the 43 to be involved in the three training camps staged in June and July.

Backs: I Boss (Leinster), T Bowe (Ospreys), G D'Arcy (Leinster), G Duffy (Connacht), K Earls (Munster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster), F Jones (Munster), R Kearney (Leinster), F McFadden (Leinster), G Murphy (Leicester), C Murray (Munster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), P Stringer (Munster), A Trimble (Ulster), P Wallace (Ulster).

Forwards: R Best (Ulster), T Buckley (Sale Sharks), T Court (Ulster), S Cronin (Leinster), L Cullen (Leinster), S Ferris (Ulster), J Flannery (Munster), J Hayes (Munster), C Healy (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster), M Horan (Munster), S Jennings (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), M McCarthy (Connacht), K McLaughlin (Leinster), S O'Brien (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), M Ross (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), D Varley (Munster), D Wallace (Munster), B Wilkinson (Connacht).


From Belfast Telegraph