Kidney calls on Madigan and O'Donnell
Rugby:Ian Madigan has been called into the Ireland squad ahead of the trip to Murrayfield to face Scotland in the Six Nations on Sunday. The Leinster outhalf has been drafted in after it was confirmed Connacht centre Dave McSharry will be unable to train because of a “niggling groin injury”.
Ulster backrow Chris Henry has also been ruled out - for “approximately four weeks” - after an MRI scan today confirmed a cartilage tear in his knee will require surgery and a month’s recuperation.
The flanker has been replaced by Tommy O’Donnell of Munster, but it is Madigan’s inclusion that is of more interest, for the Leinster player is not ideally suited as cover for centre, playing as he does at outhalf or fullback for his province.
With Jonathan Sexton injured, Ronan O’Gara is set to deputise in Edinburgh, while the inclusion of Paddy Jackson suggested a place on the bench for the Ulsterman.
However, it was Madigan who impressed in the role in the PRO12 fixtures over the weekend, when kicking four out of five penalties in the bonus-point win over Treviso on Saturday. That did not lead to a call-up for the 23-year-old but McSharry’s misfortune has opened the back door.
Whether that indicates a rethink from Declan Kidney on what is to be done in Sexton's absence is doubtful, however. The coach had few options were he of a mind to call up a centre in place of McSharry. Fergus McFadden, Luke Marshall, Darren Cave, Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald were already in the squad, thanks to the fact Gordon D'Arcy has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament.
Scotland, meanwhile, have called up an additional 13 players to their squad.
Included in the 13 are two props – Glasgow’s Jon Welsh and Sale’s Alasdair Dickinson – due to the fact that regular tighthead Euan Murray is unavailable for the game for reasons of his Christian faith.
The players called up are forwards: Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Tom Ryder, John Barclay (all Glasgow Warriors), Alasdair Dickinson and Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks) and Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), backs: Sean Kennedy, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie (all Glasgow Warriors), Tom Heathcote (Bath and Nikki Walker (Worcester Warriors).
The Scotland team will be announced on Wednesday.
Ireland Squad (30):Rory Best, Darren Cave, Tom Court, Sean Cronin, James Coughlan, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Declan Fitzpatrick, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Henshaw, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Paddy Jackson, Rob Kearney, David Kilcoyne, Ian Madigan, Luke Marshall, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Peter O'Mahony, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Lewis Stevenson, Devin Toner.