Ireland without forward trio for Rugby World Cup opener against Romania

Jared Wright
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland: Summer International Rugby, Ireland versus Italy; Jack Conan of Ireland warms up prior to kickoff

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland: Summer International Rugby, Ireland versus Italy; Jack Conan of Ireland warms up prior to kickoff.

Ireland will be without forwards Jack Conan, Dan Sheehan and Dave Kilcoyne for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup opener against Romania in Bordeaux.

Forwards coach Paul O’Connell confirmed the news on Tuesday, with Conan being one of the only players who didn’t participate in the morning’s training.

Three players ruled out of Ireland’s World Cup opener

Conan suffered the foot problem during the World Cup warm-up match against Italy.

Meanwhile, hooker Sheehan took part in the session at the team’s training base in Tours but will not be rushed back into action following the foot injury he sustained against England on August 19.

Prop Kilcoyne is returning to fitness following a hamstring issue.

“Everyone’s going well. There are a few guys still finishing their rehab, and they won’t be involved at the weekend,” O’Connell said.

“But by and large, we’re close to a full bill of health.

“Dan and Jack Conan (will not be involved). David Kilcoyne as well is struggling a little bit but should be OK next week.”

While the trios’ unavailability is a setback for the team, head coach Andy Farrell does have plenty of cover throughout his 33-man squad.

They have been boosted by the fitness of Ronan Kelleher, who is available for the clash.

“He’s trained, he’s in a good place. It’s a matter of making sure we get through the week. We have some brilliant people who are assisting people through their programmes, and we’ve got a healthy group,” Ireland assistant coach John Fogarty said on Monday.

Kelleher added: “I’m training fully now. I had a few niggles the last couple of weeks, but I’m fit now and raring to go.”


Kelleher raring to go

The hooker said that he was feeling healthy ahead of the tournament and is raring to get back out onto the pitch.

“There are two ways of looking at it,” Kelleher said of the injury affecting his preparations.

“You’d be thinking, ‘I haven’t got a couple of games under my belt which I would have liked,’ but at the same time, my body feels unbelievably healthy. You very rarely go into a couple of matches feeling 100 per cent healthy.

“It’s my first World Cup; I’m really looking forward to it. The last couple of days in Tours, you can see how excited everyone is. We are really embracing it.”

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