Ireland tour of New Zealand
Ross doubtful for first All Blacks Test
ESPN Staff
June 4, 2012
Ireland prop Mike Ross, Ireland v Scotland, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, March 10, 2012
Ireland prop Mike Ross is struggling to recover from a hamstring injury ahead of the first Test with New Zealand © PA Photos
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Mike Ross is facing an uphill struggle to be fit for the first Test with New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

Ross tore a hamstring muscle in Leinster's RaboDirect PRO 12 final loss to the Ospreys. He went off after 16 minutes and now faces a race against time to be ready for the match at Eden Park. His Leinster teammates Cian O'Healy and Sean O'Brien are also recovering from injuries, but are expected to be fit for the Test.

"Mike Ross is rehabbing from his hamstring tear, it is going well but he hasn't trained fully and remains in some doubt ahead of the weekend," Ireland team manager Mike Kearney said. "Cian trained fully today and is good to go. Sean O'Brien is continuing to rehabilitate well and he accelerated his rehab this morning. We are hopeful that he will be available for selection at the weekend."

The match is the first of three Tests Ireland face against the world champions, with matches in Christchurch on June 16 and Hamilton on June 23 to follow. For New Zealand it is the first time they will have played at Eden Park since they won the World Cup there last October.

The All Blacks are unbeaten at the venue since 1994 and Ireland coach Les Kiss is expecting another fierce battle as the world champions seek to preserve that run.

"From the squad they picked it is going to be a fantastic series. We're playing the world champions, the best in the world bar none," Kiss said. "We expect them to throw everything at us. They have a proud history at Eden Park. I know that they are very proud at what they have achieved in Eden Park. I know Australia have spoken up in recent times about going there and breaking that there but [New Zealand] just keep turning up at that ground and nailing it."

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