Fergus McFadden out of opening two Six Nations games with rib injury

Conor Murray ‘trained well’ on Friday and is expected to make Italy game

Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray during a training session at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray during a training session at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Versatile Leinster back Fergus McFadden has been ruled out of Ireland’s opening two games of the Six Nations after damaging rib cartilage in the Ireland Wolfhounds defeat to the England Saxons last Friday.

The Wolfhounds’ other starting winger in Cork, Craig Gilroy, has also been left out of a 38-man panel named by Ireland coach Joe Schmidt as he must observe return to play protocols after suffering a concussion and eye injury late in the game in Cork. Leinster’s Noel Reid is also left out of the list of backs named.

Mike McCarthy suffered a concussion during the Wolfhounds game and will stay with the squad while completing the return to play protocols.

Schmidt has left out promising Leinster backrow Jack Conan, Leinster prop Michael Bent and Ulster hooker Rob Herring, while Eoin McKeon returns to Connacht.

“Jack Conan and Michael Bent did well against the Saxons but will return to Leinster, as will Noel Reid who was restricted to a brief cameo as he was covering a number of positions,” Schmidt was quoted in a press release.

There was good news for another pair of wingers, with Dave Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald both expected to available for selection for next Saturday’s game in Rome.

Conor Murray is reported to have “trained well” on Friday and is expected to be fit for the Italy clash, while fellow scrumhalf Eoin Reddan is likely to return to training on Tuesday, along with No 8 Jamie Heaslip.

Cian Healy is said to be making “very promising progress” on his return from a serious hamstring injury.

IRELAND (Squad for Six Nations matches against Italy and France)

FORWARDS (20)

Rory Best (Ulster), James Cronin (Munster), Seán Cronin (Leinster), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Seán O’Brien (Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Tommy O’Donnell (Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Dominic Ryan (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Nathan White (Connacht)*

BACKS (18)

Isaac Boss (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Felix Jones (Munster), David Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Ian Keatley (Munster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Conor Murray (Munster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Simon Zebo (Munster).

*Denotes uncapped player

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