Rugby World Cup 2011: D'Arcy and O'Brien fit for Irish

Sean O'Brien and Gordon D'Arcy
The Ireland management say Leinster pair Sean O'Brien and Gordon D'Arcy have both recovered from their injuries

Gordon D'Arcy and Sean O'Brien will be available for Ireland's World Cup opener against the USA with Cian Healy the squad's only injury absentee.

D'Arcy has recovered from a calf injury with O'Brien also available for Sunday's game in New Plymouth after recovering from a knee strain.

"We're dealing from a full deck outside of Cian," said manager Paul McNaughton.

"Everybody else is fit and strong and available for selection, including Rob (Kearney), Sean and Gordon D'Arcy."

Healy has recovered from the eye injury sustained during the 20-9 defeat by England in the final match of the last month's warm-up Tests but has yet to begin contact work.

"He (Healy) won't resume contact work until the weekend, which was the original prognosis, so he won't be available for the USA game but will be available for the Australia game.

"He's been able to do a couple of scrums but not as much as normal."

Ireland's options to cover the loss of Healy are either to promote regular replacement Ulster's Tom Court or draft Sale's summer signing Tony Buckley straight into the starting XV.

Declan Kidney has a number of other selection issues to mull over ahead of Friday's team announcement.

Jonathan Sexton and Ronan O'Gara are continuing their battle for the fly-half jersey with Eoin Reddan likely to be picked at scrum-half.

While Kearney is said to be fit, his lack of recent game time could mean inclusion for Leicester veteran Geordan Murphy at full-back.

Kidney also has to adjudicate over the separate claims of Rory Best and Jerry Flannery for the hooker berth.

The Ireland squad relocated from Queenstown to New Plymouth on Thursday morning and were greeted by another Maori welcome upon their arrival.

McNaughton revealed that 30 seconds silence will be observed before Sunday's match against the USA to mark the 10th anniversary of the 11 September attacks. Both teams will also wear black armbands.

While there will be a solemn element to Sunday's match, the Irish build-up to the tournament has been characterised by Declan Kidney's determination that his squad should enjoy the New Zealand experience.

Flanker Denis Leamy has been among the players to applaud the Irish management's desire to have a happy camp at this year's competition.

"When lads are happy and are enjoying themselves it has a knock-on effect on the pitch," said Leamy.

"Like any human being, when you're down in the dumps and you're a little bit deflated, you won't perform to the best of your ability.

"We didn't enjoy the last World Cup. We were very tense.

"We were couped up in our hotel outside Bordeaux 24/7 and it didn't really work for us. It has been a lot different so far in New Zealand.

"We had a great atmosphere going into 2007 but it deflated and got worse as it went on.

"Right now there are smiles on people's faces, which is always a good indicator of how things are going."

Top Stories