Sports Digest: New Irish rugby players prepare for the RBS Six Nations
Ireland coach Declan Kidney has freshened things up and added new blood to his Six Nations squad ahead of Sunday’s opening fixture against Wales.
Munster wing sensation Simon Zebo has been joined in a 32-man senior squad by Dan Tuohy, Eoin O’Malley, Peter O’Mahony, Denis Hurley, Chris Henry, Rhys Ruddock, David Kearney and Brett Wilkinson.
Zebo, Kearney -- brother of Rob -- O’Malley, O’Mahony and Wilkinson are all uncapped.
Leinster captain Leo Cullen is missing as expected after he opted to undergo surgery on troublesome ankle injuries.
Kidney will name his team to play Wales after a training session on Wednesday morning.
Zebo and Tuohy impressed the coach when they played for the Irish Wolfhounds in the defeat to the English A team last Saturday but are unlikely to feature on Sunday.
Captain Brian O’Driscoll, David Wallace and Jerry Flannery are still long-term injury absentees from the Irish squad, while the English based Geordan Murphy and Tony Buckley have not been included.
The Ireland squad is -- forwards: R. Best (Ulster), T. Bowe (Ospreys), T. Court (Ulster), S. Cronin (Leinster), S. Ferris (Ulster), C. Healy (Leinster), J. Heaslip (Leinster), C. Henry (Ulster), S. Jennings (Leinster), S. O’Brien (Leinster), D. O’Callaghan (Munster), P. O’Connell (Munster), P. O’Mahony (Munster), M. Ross (Leinster), D. Ryan (Munster), R. Ruddock (Leinster), D. Tuohy (Ulster), B. Wilkinson (Connacht).
Backs: G. D’Arcy (Leinster), K. Earls (Munster), D. Hurley (Munster), R. Kearney (Leinster), D. Kearney (Leinster), F. McFadden (Leinster), C. Murray (Munster), R. O’Gara (Munster), E. O’Malley (Leinster), E. Reddan (Leinster), J. Sexton (Leinster), A. Trimble (Ulster), P. Wallace (Ulster), S. Zebo (Munster).
GOLF: Rory McIlroy is up to second in the world rankings after finishing second to England’s Robert Rock in the Abu Dhabi Championship when a second round penalty, for brushing sand away from his ball, effectively cost him the title. Fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell scored a final round hole-in-one as he finished third . . .
BOXING: Olympic hero Kenny Egan will meet Joe Ward in next Friday’s Irish Elite Championships light-heavyweight final at the National Stadium in Dublin after both fighters won their semis in convincing fashion last weekend . . .
BOXING: Barry McGuigan’s protégé Carl Frampton has successfully defended his Commonwealth super-bantamweight title with an impressive seventh-round stoppage against Kris Hughes in London . ..
RACING: Jockey Ruby Walsh is to appeal against a three day ban imposed for interference at Cheltenham on Saturday when he partnered Pearl Swan to victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial . . .
RUGBY: Ulster look likely to replace head coach Brian McLaughlin when his contract expires at the end of the season according to reports . . .
GOLF: Darren Clarke has parted company with Irish caddy John Mulroney less than a year after they won the British Open . . .
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