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    Finge players to miss entire tour?



    Heineken headache for Ireland as fringe players set to miss tour


    IRELAND'S plans for the tour to Argentina will be thrown into further disarray as several of Eddie O'Sullivan's likely candidates will definitely miss the first test on May 26, as they will feature in the Heineken Cup final just six days earlier.


    Already it has been strongly intimated, most recently by Ronan O'Gara, that the side who started the overwhelming Croke Park win against England during the Six Nations championship, will not be involved on the troublesome tour.


    And, after the weekend's Heineken Cup semi-final successes for both Leicester Tigers and London Wasps, several World Cup hopefuls may not be allowed to tour by their clubs.


    Leicester's Geordan Murphy, Shane Jennings, Ian Humphreys, Leo Cullen, Gavin Hickie, Frank Murphy and Wasps' trio Peter Bracken, Jeremy Staunton, Eoin Reddan will be forced to miss the first Test.


    And, given the exhaustive weekly diet of competitive rugby endured by the English sides compared to the Irish home-based contingent, it is likely that both clubs will deny the IRFU access to their players for the second Test also, especially in this World Cup year.


    Crystallising perfectly the ongoing impasse which has divided the game between clubs and countries, putting the very future of the Heineken Cup in doubt next season, the tour continues to cause a massive headache for O'Sullivan and his coaching staff.


    The two-match tour to Argentina, whom Ireland will face in a pivotal pool encounter in September's World Cup, had already been planned as part of the IRB' ongoing rota of summer ventures.


    O'Sullivan has already expressed his anxiety about having to embark on such an undertaking at the end of a tough season against the same opposition he will seek to thwart just months later.


    And, with a Churchill Cup penned in for southern England to run parallel with the senior tour, Irish rugby's resources will be pared to the bone as the hard-pressed coach seeks to mix and match his shadow sides.


    One man certainly not traveling to Argentina is Brian O'Driscoll, and he is also unlikely to be rushed back for title-chasing Leinster's crucial visit to the Ospreys on Friday evening.


    Unlikely


    The Irish captain is rated a 30-70% chance of lining out following his serious hamstring strain sustained against Italy in the championship's closing encounter in Rome but, with two games remaining, Michael Cheika is unlikely to risk his star player.


    The Ospreys may be seeking to overtake Leinster on Friday, as one of their games in hand takes place tonight against beaten Heineken Cup semi-finalists Llanelli Scarlets, who are hardly likely to be pushed to seek a decent result.


    "We are hugely sympathetic as to the plight of the Scarlets over the weekend as we experienced much the same the week before against Leicester," says coach Lyn Jones. "It will be difficult for both teams to come back after matches such as these as our squads have been tested to the limit and will be devastated to have lost."


    Munster may recall the preciously rested Peter Stringer for the weekend clash with the Dragons but Denis Leamy and David Wallace may still be unavailable.


    Ulster entertain Glasgow having seen their title hopes dismantled by Nick McLeod's controversial last second drop goal in the Arms Park last Friday night.


    "The title looks as if it is gone, but what we did say was that we wanted to go out and produce two big performances at Rav
    Seas suas agus troid!

    #2


    That doesn't make much sense to be honest.


    Not all of those players are likely to be starters in the HEC final (maybe 5 or 6)and of those only Reddan and Murphy will stilll be at te same club next season.


    Why would Leicester care if Jennings and Cullen are knackered at the end of June? [img]smileys/confused.gif[/img]

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      #3


      Do the GP clubs have more games after the HEC final ?


      If that is the case then you could understand their refusal to release players.


      Plus the first test is only a few days after the HEC final, so it's perfectly understandable that players involved in the final would not be available for the first test at all. And given EOS normal mode of operation he's likely to want to play practically the same team for both games. so players not available for the first match aren't likely to be considered for the second.
      Plato: \"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.\"

      Comment


        #4


        I think the Premiership final is the week before the HEC final.

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