Ireland blow as Rob Kearney ruled out of autumn series
Ireland are examining their options at full-back after Rob Kearney was ruled out of the autumn series with a back problem. Kearney will undergo surgery on an injury that has restricted him to just 32 minutes of rugby this season.
Earlier this week, the 26-year-old had declared himself fit for next month’s series against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina, but a specialist has since advised that an operation is necessary. Head coach Declan Kidney revealed that surgery was viewed as a last resort.
Alternatives at 15 are limited, with Luke Fitzgerald and Gavin Duffy injured, Felix Jones left out of the 31-man squad named for the autumn series yesterday after recently returning from a spell in the treatment room and Geordan Murphy having retired from Test rugby.
Munster’s Keith Earls is the most obvious choice to replace Kearney, although he is currently out with a groin problem, while Tommy Bowe is also an option.
Flanker Stephen Ferris and fly-half Ronan O’Gara feature among the 31 despite their recent struggle with respective back and hamstring injuries.
Centre Luke Marshall, back row Iain Henderson, prop David Kilcoyne and South Africa-born hooker Richardt Strauss are the four uncapped players included.
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