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Rugby World Cup: Ulstermen stand up for call-ups

Trimble and Tuohy could make it eight in quarter-final side

By Jonathan Bradley

Andrew Trimble and Dan Tuohy are waiting for Ireland’s call ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final clash with Argentina.

Both Jared Payne and Paul O’Connell are still to be replaced in the squad after injuries and the Ulstermen are thought to be at the front of the queue.

With Iain Henderson, Tommy Bowe, Rory Best, Chris Henry, Darren Cave and Paddy Jackson already with Joe Schmidt’s side, that could mean EIGHT Ulsterman involved in Ireland’s bid to reach a first World Cup semi-final.

Confirmation came yesterday that Peter O’Mahony’s tournament was over after he picked up a knee injury in the Pool D clinching win over France at the weekend with O’Connell certain to receive similarly bad news when the results of his hamstring injury are revealed.

There are still doubts over Jonathan Sexton, both for this weekend and moving forward should Ireland beat the Pumas, while Sean O’Brien faces a possible suspension having been cited for alleged foul play yesterday.

Leinster flanker Rhys Ruddock joined up with the squad last night to replace O’Mahony but there was as yet no official confirmation on who else would be travelling to join a camp that was visited yesterday by none other than four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy.

Andrew Trimble remains the most likely backline candidate after he was considered unfortunate to miss out on the initial 31-man squad.

He was voted Ireland’s player of the year in 2014 after playing a pivotal role in that season’s Six Nations championship and impressing again during the summer Tests against Sunday’s opponents.

Having picked up a toe injury 12 months ago, Trimble only returned to fitness during the summer and, despite performing well in the first warm-up against Wales, a further injury gave him little time to prove his fitness to the head coach.

Since returning from Irish camp, Trimble has appeared twice for Ulster in the wins over Ospreys and Treviso, missing the defeat to Scarlets with a now-healed hip flexor problem.

Tuohy was another who spent his summer in the Ireland set-up but could not force his way into the final panel.

The Bristol-born lock has won 11 caps for his adopted nation, the most recent of which came against Scotland in August, and it would be a first World Cup for the 30-year-old if he were to replace O’Connell in the squad.

Team manager Mick Kearney confirmed yesterday that it was a groin problem, not a knock to the ribs sustained in a tackle from Louis Picamoles, that ended Johnny Sexton’s afternoon in the 25th minute on Sunday.

“Johnny Sexton suffered a groin injury (but) the initial clinical assessment is encouraging,” he said. “There’s a host of bumps and bruises and soreness and will need to be managed, but no more serious than that.

“It was a physical and hard match. The first two days will be very light.

“There will be a full training session Wednesday, a down day Thursday and then another full training session the Friday so we have a little bit of time.”

Ireland showed remarkable resolve to stand up to a hugely physical France side but injuries, combined with  Sean O’Brien’s possible absence for the quarter-final clash with Argentina, are causing concern.

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