Ireland lock Paul O’Connell and hooker Rory Best were ruled out of their team’s end-of-season rugby tour of New Zealand and Australia on Friday because of injury – they’ll have to watch from the England Rugby Hospitality zone instead.
British and Irish Lions captain O’Connell has a groin injury that has not responded sufficiently to intravenous antibiotics and Best has an ankle problem.
The duo are replaced in coach Declan Kidney’s 33-man squad by the uncapped pair of Ed O’Donoghue and John Fogarty.
Ireland already has the experienced Stephen Ferris, Denis Leamy and Luke Fitzgerald unavailable because of injury. There are now five uncapped players in the squad.
Ireland hosts the Barbarians next week before playing New Zealand on June 12. The team then plays the New Zealand Maori on June 18 and Australia in Brisbane on June 26.