Rhys Ruddock’s second broken arm in six months has cost the Leinster flanker a place in Ireland’s World Cup squad.
Head coach Joe Schmidt admitted Ruddock would have made his initial World Cup training squad, but for the broken arm sustained while captaining Emerging Ireland against Uruguay.
Schmidt confirmed Paul O’Connell is the captain of his 45-man training squad, with Ruddock the main casualty.
The 24-year-old missed the RBS 6 Nations after another arm break in European Champions Cup action against Harlequins in December.
“Rhys Ruddock would have been selected but has been ruled out after fracturing his arm against Uruguay last week,” said head coach Schmidt.
Ulster’s Andrew Trimble has been named as he returns to fitness in spite of having missed most of last season with a toe injury.
Craig Gilroy is back in the mix as he contends for one of the wingers’ places,
“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.”
Ruddock was included in Emerging Ireland’s Tbilisi Cup campaign to help boost his match time in readiness for the World Cup training camp.
Instead the Ireland Under-20s graduate must now sit out of the entire build-up and tournament, suffering his latest arm injury in the 33-17 victory over Uruguay.
Leinster’s forward duo Jack Conan and Tadhg Furlong are the only uncapped men in Ireland’s ranks, as the double Six Nations champions prepare to kick-start their World Cup preparations.
Schmidt’s squad will convene at their Carton House base on Sunday night, with four warm-up matches scheduled for August and the first week of September.
The deadline for selecting 31-man World Cup squads is August 31, and Ireland boss Schmidt has already admitted he is finding the final composition of that squad a huge challenge.
Chris Henry has completed his remarkable comeback after suffering a mini-stroke in November to win inclusion in the squad, the Ulster flanker proving himself ready with an impressive showing against the Barbarians last month.
Both Ulster hookers, Rory Best and Rob Herring have made the 45-man squad.
Veteran centre Gordon D’Arcy is among the ranks despite having already played his final game for Leinster, with his full retirement following the World Cup.
Conor Murray and Sean O’Brien had faced minor injuries in the build-up to this initial squad announcement, but both British and Irish Lions are expected to be fully fit well in advance of the August warm-up schedule.
IRELAND TRAINING SQUAD: Forwards, R Best (Ulster), M Bent, J Conan, S Cronin, T Furlong, C Healy, J Heaslip (all Leinster), I Henderson, C Henry, R Herring (all Ulster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), J McGrath, M Moore, J Murphy, S O’Brien (all Leinster), P O’Connell (capt), T O’Donnell, P O’Mahony (all Munster), M Ross (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), R Strauss, D Toner (both Leinster), D Tuohy (Ulster).
BACKS: I Boss (Leinster), T Bowe, D Cave (both Ulster), G D’Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster), C Gilroy (Ulster), R Henshaw (Connacht), P Jackson (Ulster), F Jones (Munster), D Kearney, R Kearney, I Madigan (all Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht), F McFadden (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), J Payne (Ulster), E Reddan, N Reid (Leinster), J Sexton (Racing Metro), A Trimble (Ulster), S Zebo (Munster).