Declan Kidney’s Irish team have been dealt a serious blow ahead of their departure to New Zealand with the news that Ulster back row Stephen Ferris will not take part in the three Test series against the All Blacks.
Ferris picked up a calf injury in Ulster’s Heineken Cup final defeat to Ulster however he was expected to recover in time and was named in Kidney’s travelling squad.
Unfortunately for Ferris the injury has not responded to treatment and his place will now be given to Leinster flanker Kevin McLauhglin, who must have been close to making the original 29-man squad.
McLaughlin, the versatile Dublin-born back rower, made his Ireland debut against Italy during the 2010 Six Nations and won his second cap as a replacement in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Scotland last August.
There are four places still up for grabs in Kindey’s squad with the Irish coach waiting to fill vacancies at prop, second row, back row and scrum half.