A trio of Magners League based players have been called up to a 26-man squad for Ireland’s first 2011 RBS 6 Nations game against Italy on Saturday.
Munster’s Tomas O’Leary, Connacht full-back Gavin Duffy and Leinster flanker Kevin McLaughlin are all called up to the squad which met in Dublin over the weekend to begin preparations for the opening game of the championship.
All three played in the defeat for O2 Ireland Wolffounds against Scotland ‘A’ on Friday evening.
2009 Grand Slam winning scrum-half O’Leary has proved his fitness after his return from injury to take his place in the squad.
Leinster’s McLaughlin will be looking to build on his solitary appearance for Ireland which was also against Italy in last season’s Six Nations tournament whilst Duffy will hope to carry his impressive Magners League form for Connacht onto the international stage.
IRELAND Squad v Italy
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)