Cape Town – Ireland have made four changes to their squad to travel to South Africa for a three-Test tour this month.
The national coaching team have called up Craig Gilroy, Matt Healy, Ian Madigan and Tiernan O’Halloran to replace wing Luke Fitzgerald, utility back Dave Kearney, flyhalf Johnny Sexton and fullback Rob Kearney, who have been ruled out of the tour due to injury.
Fitzgerald, Dave Kearney and Sexton picked up injuries in last Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 final.
Fitzgerald sustained a knee ligament injury, Kearney picked up a calf strain and Sexton injured his shoulder which has resulted in the player undergoing a minor procedure this week.
All three players are expected to return to action at the start of next season.
Rob Kearney pulled up in training on Wednesday and a subsequent scan has shown a hamstring strain that will rule him out of the tour.
The inclusion of former Ireland Under-20 star O’Halloran means there are three uncapped players in the squad with Sean Reidy and Quinn Roux already named to tour.
The squad departs for South Africa on Sunday and will play Tests in Cape Town (June 11), Johannesburg (June 18) and Port Elizabeth (June 25).
Ireland last toured South Africa in 2004, losing the two-Test series 2-0.
Revised Ireland squad:
Finlay Bealham (Corinthians/Connacht)
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (captain)
Sean Cronin (St Marys/Leinster)
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (vice-captain)
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Jack McGrath (St Marys/Leinster)
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Sean Reidy (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht)*
Rhys Ruddock (St Marys/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
CJ Stander (Munster)
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster)
Matt Healy (Connacht)*
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht)
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Jared Payne (Ulster)
Eoin Reddan (Old Crescent/Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)