Gordon D’Arcy suffers the cruellest cut from Ireland rugby squad

Gordon D’Arcy’s Ireland career appears at an end after the 81-cap Test veteran was excluded from Joe Schmidt’s squad for the remaining rounds of the Six Nations.

Gordon D’Arcy suffers the cruellest cut from Ireland rugby squad

The news arrived via email in cold, business-like fashion yesterday with D’Arcy’s name omitted from the Ireland panel that will attempt to claim a Grand Slam title by defeating Wales and Scotland.

Considering the impressive impact made by Robbie Henshaw in the Irish No 12 shirt this season it is no surprise that D’Arcy, now 35, has been made redundant.

In fact, were it not for Luke Marshall’s concussion issues since Declan Kidney capped him in 2013 it could be argued that Ulster man would have removed D’Arcy from the equation earlier.

Still, having made his debut in the 1999 World Cup as a teenager D’Arcy went on to provide Brian O’Driscoll with the perfect foil in the Irish midfield for close to a decade and his departure deserved more ceremony.

However, that luxury was not even afforded to Ronan O’Gara and it may yet emerge that D’Arcy’s mid-championship exit was mutual given the fact that he has not featured in a match-day 23 in the three games so far.

There was also no break in media protocol from the Irish hierarchy as team manager Mick Kearney delivered the squad update as part of the regular Monday routine.

As it was, that task of paying tribute was left to Rory Best who was kind but also explained that such is the competition for places in the national team there was no sense of shock within the camp upon hearing the news. However, the Ulster captain did add that he wouldn’t bet against D’Arcy returning.

“I think if you see him back playing well for Leinster then certainly I don’t think Ireland have enough players to be turning down people that are playing well,” he insisted.

Although Kearney said that no door had been closed on D’Arcy it seems his struggles with fitness this season, allied to the emergence of Henshaw have made a return for the World Cup unlikely.

Regarding the fitness of Johnny Sexton and Jamie Heaslip the Irish management reported that both players are expected to be available for selection to face Wales on Saturday.

Sexton is recovering from a mild hamstring strain and will take part in “modified training” but Kearney confirmed he is expected to train fully by the end of the week.

Heaslip, recovering from a vertebrae injury suffered against France, has not yet returned to full-contact training but is expected to do so today and barring any adverse effects he will be cleared to travel to Cardiff.

It was also confirmed that Sean O’Brien and Jared Payne are still undergoing the return to play protocols for concussion injuries after both were removed against England eight days ago.

IRELAND SQUAD V WALES

Forwards: Michael Bent, Rory Best, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Mike McCarthy, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore , Jordi Murphy , Sean O’Brien, Paul O’Connell , Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony, Mike Ross, Dominic Ryan , Richardt Strauss , Devin Toner, Dan Touhy.

Backs: Isaac Boss, Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald , Robbie Henshaw, Felix Jones, David Kearney, Rob Kearney, Ian Keatley, Ian Madigan, Conor Murray, Jared Payne, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Simon Zebo.

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