20 May 2010

O'Connell named in Ireland squad despite injury concern

8:02 am on 20 May 2010

Lock Paul O'Connell has been named in a 33-man Ireland rugby squad for their tour of Australia and New Zealand despite doubts over his fitness.

Munster star O'Connell, who captained the British and Irish Lions in 2009, has not played since his country's final Six Nations match against Scotland on March 20th due to a groin injury, but has been deemed fit enough to take his place in Declan Kidney's touring party.

While O'Connell is on the plane, flanker Stephen Ferris misses out with a broken cheekbone sustained in training earlier this month, while fellow back-rower Denis Leamy and three-quarter Luke Fitzgerald are ruled out with knee problems.

Kidney's squad contains three uncapped players, with Ulster back-rower Chris Henry and lock Dan Tuohy adding cover in the pack and Leinster centre Fergus McFadden also included.

Brian O'Driscoll will captain the side.

Ireland's program begins against the Barbarians on June 4th before a Test against the All Blacks in New Plymouth on June 12th, a match against the New Zealand Maori and then a test against Australia.