Ferris may miss New Zealand tour


Rugby:Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris is very doubtful for Ireland’s three match tour to New Zealand because of a calf injury sustained during the Heineken Cup final defeat to Leinster at Twickenham.

Ireland team manager Michael Kearney explained: “Stephen Ferris has got a calf strain and he’ll be monitored. A decision will be made about Stephen on Monday.” Ireland play the Barbarians on Tuesday at Kingsholm before decamping to London and then flying to New Zealand where they’ll play the All Blacks in a three test series.

Ferris would be a huge loss to the travelling party if he was to be ruled out. Leinster scrumhalf Isaac Boss – he misses out on the RaboDirect Pro 12 final on Sunday – is another serious concern as he still hasn’t recovered from the quad injury that ruled him out of the European final.

The news was better in regard to Paul O’Connell and Sean O’Brien with the former back running after his knee ligament problem. Irish coach Declan Kidney will give him every chance to prove his fitness over the weekend.

O’Brien had a minor procedure carried out on his knee and misses the Pro12 final but the Irish management are confident that he will be able to go to New Zealand. There are still four vacancies in the squad – potentially more if other players are ruled out – and these will be filled next week. The Ireland squad are currently training at Carton House.

Chris Henry and Brett Wilkinson are expected to take part in Ireland’s game against the Barbarians at Kingsholm on Tuesday (7.45).