Six Nations
Trio drafted into Ireland squad
ESPNscrum Staff
January 31, 2011
Munster scrum-half Tomas O'Leary passes the ball, Montauban v Munster, Heineken Cup, Montauban, January 25, 2009
Munster scrum-half Tomas O'Leary has been called up to the Ireland senior squad ahead of their Six Nations opener © Getty Images

Ireland have called Tomas O'Leary, Kevin McLaughlin and Gavin Duffy into their squad ahead of their opening Six Nations clash against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

The duo are called up after being involved in the Ireland Wolfhounds defeat to Scotland A last Friday night. Munster scrum-half Peter Stringer makes way for provincial colleague O'Leary while Leinster back-rower McLaughlin takes the place of uncapped Connacht man Mike McCarthy. Fullback Gavin Duffy, also of Connacht, returns to the full squad after being released to play for the Wolfhounds as coach Declan Kidney mulls over his options having seen his back-three options decimated by injury.

Wingers Andrew Trimble, Tommy Bowe and Shane Horgan all miss out with injuries, as do fullbacks Rob Kearney and Geordan Murphy. Luke Fitzgerald is the current favourite to fill the number 15 berth with Keith Earls also in contention. Leinster's Fergus McFadden, normally a centre, may be considered as a wing option after impressing for his province on the flank. Kidney also faces a selection headache in the back-row with number eight Jamie Heaslip and blindside flanker Stephen Ferris, who were outstanding during the autumn, sidelined with ankle and knee problems respectively. Veteran prop John Hayes is another absentee.

A statement from the Irish Rugby Football Union said, "There are no fresh injury concerns for the Ireland squad after last week's training camp in Limerick and the Ireland Wolfhounds game against Scotland on Friday. Fullback Gavin Duffy, scrum-half Tomas O'Leary and flanker Kevin McLaughlin have been drafted into the senior squad from the Ireland Wolfhounds side."

Kidney will name his side to face the Azzurri tomorrow.

Ireland squad:

Backs (11): Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht), Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)

Forwards (15): Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht), Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Shane Jennings (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Mick O'Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary's College/Leinster), David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)

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