Ireland’s rugby team has suffered another blow – flanker Sean O’Brien is out of Saturday’s RBS Six Nations clash with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.
O’Brien has been ruled out with an inflammation in his foot but is expected to return in time for the final game of the season, away to England on Saturday week.
Munster’s Peter O’Mahony has been promoted from the bench with Leinster’s Shane Jennings taking his place amongst the replacements.
Ireland have little or nothing to play for bar world ranking points after the draw with France last Sunday but coach Declan Kidney is adamant the fixture is important.
He said: “The championship’s out of reach, but there’s a huge amount of stake at the end of November in terms of World Cup rankings.
“We’re very aware of the IRB ranking system and the need to be ranked as high as possible for the next World Cup. The ranking system probably only becomes important once every four years in terms of getting something from it, so we’re conscious of that.
“I pointed out to the players that given the age profile of our side, 80-90% of them will be hoping to be around for the next World Cup.
“This is their foundation, so they must understand it and don’t be saying afterwards they didn’t realise. It won’t make us win the match against Scotland, but it’s something to have in the back of the mind.”
Kidney also backed the Irish team to show their pride with just one win in three outings so far this season.
He added: “The Six Nations is different to other competitions, it’s like playing in five cup finals.
“Each game is a cup final in its own right and each day you pull on the green jersey is a huge day.”