Ireland v USA, Rugby World Cup, September 11
Healy blow for Ireland
ESPNscrum Staff
September 8, 2011

Ireland have suffered a blow ahead of their World Cup opener with the United States after prop Cian Healy was ruled out of the clash.

Healy has recovered from the eye injury sustained during the 20-9 defeat by England in the final match of the last month's warm-up Tests but has yet to begin contact work. The 23-year-old Leinster prop will return to full training this weekend and should be available to face Australia in Auckland on Saturday week.

"Cian won't be playing at the weekend," said Ireland team manager Paul McNaughton. "He won't resume contact work until the weekend, which was the original prognosis, so he won't be available for the USA game but will be available for the Australia game.

"He's been able to do a couple of scrums but not as much as normal."

Ireland's options to cover the loss of Healy are either to promote Tom Court from the bench or draft Tony Buckley straight into the starting XV. The squad was otherwise given a clean bill of health with Sean O'Brien, Gordon D'Arcy and Rob Kearney all passed fit to face the USA.

"We're dealing from a full deck outside of Cian," added McNaughton. "Everybody else is fit and strong and available for selection, including Rob, Sean and Gordon D'Arcy."

Ireland relocated from Queenstown to New Plymouth on Thursday morning and were greeted by another Maori welcome upon their arrival. "We had a nice Maori welcome as we got off the plane and onto the bus," said McNaughton. "We've had a number of these before and we had one this morning, which is the big one of the trip.

"We had one in Queenstown but that was combined with a civil ceremony and caps ceremony, so this was our main Maori welcome. The players sang 'Ride On' (a ballad by Irish folk singer Christy Moore). They had their singing voices on and they sang it well."

McNaughton revealed that 30 seconds silence will be observed before Sunday's match against the USA to mark the 10th anniversary September 11. Both teams will also wear black armbands.

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