IRELAND will host a training camp today for the players who were unavailable to tour Australasia.
Head coach Declan Kidney has called for the meet-up at Johnstown House hotel in Enfield, Co Meath to keep his injured troops up to speed ahead of the autumn series.
And Ireland and Munster star Denis Leamy, who is set to return following a seven-month lay-off with a knee injury, has hailed Kidney for his approach with the World Cup only 14 months away.
Leamy, 28, said: “It’s nice to be kept involved by Declan and it’s great news to be given the call to join up. He’s an excellent communicator and it’s a major strength. You always feel wanted and part of the squad. It’s good to be kept in the loop.
“There is strong competition within the squad now so you never know when the next opportunity will come. There’s a long way to go before the World Cup so it’s better to be involved than not as you pick up things and you know what the calls are when the time comes. But I know I have to get in the Munster team first before I begin thinking about playing for Ireland again.”
Leamy will be joined at the get together by the likes of Paul O’Connell, Stephen Ferris and Luke Fitzgerald as Ireland aim to get back on track following summer defeats to New Zealand, the Maoris and Australia.
But, despite the disappointing results, Leamy, capped 41 times, believes the future is bright.
Leamy added: “It was a difficult tour especially with the number of injuries we had. But if we can keep our top 20 or 25 players fit then I feel we have a good chance going into the World Cup. Of course, you don’t know who will stay fit. If we have the same problems in terms of injuries that we’ve had over the last six months then you would have to be fearful. But we must stay positive as we have the players to mount a challenge.
“There were some positives from the tour too. We saw the re-emergence of Andrew Trimble which was great to see. He’s had a tough time with injuries but he gives us great options with his pace and power. Niall Ronan played well at seven against the Maoris and Australia while Damien Varley and Tony Buckley stepped up to the plate.
“It has given us some real depth to the squad and it’s a big season for all of the players.”
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