Ian Madigan’s week went from ecstasy to agony in less than 48 hours, with the Dubliner being omitted from Joe Schmidt’s thirty-man squad to tour Argentina next month.
Madigan was the hero for Leinster in their superb 13-9 turnaround win at the RDS on Saturday night, but Joe Schmidt has decided to leave the Dubliner at home this summer, instead opting for Jonny Sexton. Many believed Sexton was going to be rested after a hectic season, but Schmidt has decided to bring the Racing Metro star. It means heartbreak for Madigan, who has struggled to nail down a starting berth in Matt O’Connor’s Leinster side this season. Madigan will travel to Romania with the Emerging Ireland squad instead.
Schmidt has decided to rest big guns like Tommy Bowe, Gordon D’Arcy and Cian Healy. Sean O’Brien has also been omitted from the squad, as he has just returned from a long term injury. It was good news for Connacht’s top try scorer Kieran Marmion, who has been called up to the squad along with the uncapped trio of James Cronin (Munster), Rob Herring and Robbie Diack (both Ulster).
Munster’s Simon Zebo has been rewarded for his provincial displays and will also travel to Argentina. After the disappointment of missing out on Ireland’s victorious Six Nations campaign, Zebo has the chance to nail down a full time place in the Ireland squad. There was also good news for Ulster’s outspoken centre Darren Cave, a player that has aired his frustrations about the Ireland set up in the past. His inclusion will help to soften the blow of Ulster’s loss to Leinster on Saturday.
The bad news for the Leinster contingent is that the Ireland squad is due to fly to Buenos Aires on June 1st, the day after the Boys in Blue go head-to-head with Glasgow in the RaboDirect Pro12 Final. Something tells us there could be a lot of sore heads checking in at Dublin Airport.
Ireland Squad To Tour Argentina:
Rory Best (Ulster), James Cronin (Munster), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Marty Moore (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Munster, capt), Mike Ross (Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Damian Varley (Munster)
Darren Cave (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Felix Jones (Munster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing-Metro/FRA), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster)
June 7: Argentina v Ireland, First Test, Resistencia
June 14: Argentina v Ireland, Second Test, Tucuman
Richard Barrett, Pundit Arena.