Ireland in Flannery blow

IRELAND’S World Cup hopes suffered a blow yesterday when hooker Jerry Flannery was ruled out of the rest of the tournament.

Flannery, who came off the bench in the opening-match victory over the United States, is facing a six-week lay-off after tearing a calf muscle in training. Ireland coach Declan Kidney has drafted Damien Varley into the squad in his place, while Sean Cronin will fill in for him among the replacements in the forthcoming crunch game against Australia.

Munster forward Flannery faces an uncertain future, however, having suffered from calf problems for much of the last year.

Ireland face Australia at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday in their second match in Pool C. They beat the US 22-10 in their opener on Sunday.