Ciarán Frawley among a number of late withdrawals from Emerging Ireland squad

Caolin Blade, Alex Soroka and Alex Kendellen all also ruled out through injury

A shoulder injury picked up while playing for Leinster on Friday night has ruled Ciarán Frawley out of the Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa. Connacht scrumhalf Caolin Blade, Munster backrow Alex Kendellen and Leinster’s Alex Soroka have also pulled out of the travelling party ahead of their departure on Sunday evening.

Connacht outhalf Cathal Forde, Leinster scrumhalf Ben Murphy, and Ulster backrow David McCann have all been drafted in as replacements. All three are recent Ireland U20 internationals, with McCann part of the 2019 Grand Slam-winning group while he also was captain in 2020.

Similar to Frawley, Blade was injured in the most recent round of URC action, picking up a knock in Connacht’s defeat to the Stormers. Alex Kendellen is still undergoing his return-to-play process having failed a HIA last week in Munster’s defeat to Cardiff while Soroka has aggravated an existing foot issue.

The injury to Frawley will be a particular blow to the group led by Simon Easterby, given a significant goal of the tour was to give the Leinster man more game time out outhalf with a view to providing the senior team with long term cover at the position.

Munster and Ulster were without their contingent of players selected for this tour to South Africa this weekend. Frawley, Blade Connacht backrow Cian Prendergast and Leinster’s Joe McCarthy were the only members of the original squad to play for their provinces in the most recent round of URC action.

The Ireland squad arrives in Bloemfontein on Tuesday. They will play three fixtures against the Griquas, Pumas and Cheetahs. It is likely the games will be streamed on the IRFU website.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist