Ireland’s Rhys Ruddock will miss the World Cup after a second broken arm in six months cost the Leinster flanker a place in coach Joe Schmidt’s 45-man training squad announced Wednesday.
The 24-year-old, the Ireland-born son of former Wales coach Mike Ruddock, had battled his way back into contention after missing the Six Nations following a broken arm suffered against London club Harlequins during a European Champions Cup match in December.
Bu Ruddock broke his arm again while captaining Emerging Ireland against Uruguay last week and has now been ruled out of the World Cup, which starts in England in September.
Schmidt said Wednesday that Ruddock would have made it into Six Nations champions Ireland’s squad but for his initial injury, with the Irish favourites to win a Pool D that also includes European rivals France and Italy.
“Rhys Ruddock would have been selected but has been ruled out after fracturing his arm against Uruguay last week,” said Schmidt in an Irish RugbyFootball Union statement.
“The squad selection has been a long process with some very tight decisions.
“Some injured players who are getting close to full fitness have been included while others have missed out due to prolonged absence or lack of opportunity to demonstrate their full Test match readiness.”
Veteran lock Paul O’Connell captains a squad where the only uncapped players are Leinster forwards Jack Conan and Tadhg Furlong.
Meanwhile Ulster flanker Chris Henry’s remarkable return from a minor stroke in November has continued with his inclusion in a 45-man group that New Zealander Schmidt must reduce to a World Cup tournament maximum 31 by the August 31 deadline.
In the backs, where fly-half Jonathan Sexton is one of the key figures, veteran centre Gordon D’Arcy has been selected, with the World Cup set to mark the end of his career now that the midfielder has played his last match for provincial side Leinster.
Ireland have four warm-up matches in August and September, with home and away internationals against Wales either side of a Dublin date with Scotland.
They conclude their World Cup preparations against England at Twickenham on September 5.
Their first match of the tournament proper is against Canada in Cardiff on September 19, with Ireland looking to improve on a 2011 World Cup where they lost in the quarter-finals to Wales.
Ireland 45-man World Cup training squad:
Isaac Boss (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Felix Jones (Munster), David Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Noel Reid (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro/FRA), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster)
Rory Best (Ulster), Michael Bent (Leinster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Tommy O’Donnell (Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster)
Ireland World Cup warm-up fixtures (all times GMT)
Aug 08: v Wales, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (1330)
Aug 15: v Scotland, Lansdowne Road, Dublin (1600)
Aug 29: v Wales, Lansdowne Road, Dublin (1330)
Sep 05: v England, Twickenham, London (1330)
– Agence France-Presse