Seven called into Ireland squad
Rugby:Seven players have been added to the 31-man Ireland training squad ahead of the autumn internationals after the weekend's PRO12 action took its toll on Brian O'Driscoll, among others, though the prognosis on the veteran centre remains positive.
O'Driscoll hobbled off in the 22nd minute of Leinster's 59-22 win over Cardiff Blues at the RDS, after suffering what was described by coach Joe Schmidt as a "sprained ankle".
The IRFU described the injury this evening as the one of "most concern", but added: "After undergoing a scan on the injury today, it was revealed that the damage was less severe than anticipated and his progress will be monitored."
Nevertheless, the Ireland management has decided to err on the side of caution by adding a selection of backs, as well as calling on Michael Bent, Leinster's new tighthead prop, hooker Seán Cronin and Ulster prop Justin Fitzpatrick.
"To cover this and any other minor injuries, four extra backs have been added to the squad with Ulster trio Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson and Paul Marshall joining Connacht wing Tiernan O’Halloran in the Ireland camp.
"Due to a knock that Rory Best took in the Dragons game, Seán Cronin has also been added to the squad. Declan Fitzpatrick played for Ulster at the weekend and will join the camp along with tighthead prop Michael Bent, who is Ireland qualified through his maternal grandmother and has been playing regularly for Taranaki in the provincial championship in New Zealand.
Bent arrived in Ireland today and will link up with the Ireland squad for training tomorrow."
Ireland will open the autumn series with the visit of South Africa to the Aviva Stadium on November 10th. A week later Fiji will provide the opposition at Thomond Park before a meeting with Argentina back in Dublin on the 24th.
Ireland Squad Additions
Seán Cronin (St.Mary’s College/Leinster/21)
Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster)*
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)*
Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*
Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
Michael Bent (Leinster)*
Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins/Munster/2)