Michael Bent joins the Ireland camp ahead of the visit of Fiji


Rob Herring feared he would become a one-cap wonder

Michael Bent has joined the Ireland squad for Saturday’s game against Fiji.

The Leinster prop has been called-up as front-row cover after John Ryan was allowed to return to his province for treatment on his calf injury.

Prop Dave Kilcoyne and second row James Ryan sat out training, leaving their involvement this weekend in doubt.

The pair, who both came off the bench during the record win over South Africa last weekend, are expected to return to training later this week.

John Ryan is expected to return to the camp in time for the third November international against Argentina but his absence this week has resulted in a late call-up for Bent, who could now win his fifth cap.

“I think the camp is in pretty good stead,” said number eight Jack Conan, who is also hoping to return after missing the win over the Springboks.

Jack Conan and Stuart McCloskey, who both missed the win over South Africa, will be hoping to start on Saturday

“A few of the lads are a bit beaten up but there’s no serious knocks so we had a full contingent to train, which was great.

“We know that they’ll be a formidable foe and they’ll try to play a bit more of an expansive, off-loading game compared to South Africa so it’s a different test altogether.

“We’re just going to try to shut them down, minimise their off-loading game and make sure we have impact tackles. We know that they’re a big, physical side who like to run direct so if we can front up to them we’ll be in a good spot.”

A little bit special

Head coach Joe Schmidt is expected to make several changes to his team for this weekend’s match at the Aviva Stadium with fly-half Joey Carbery hoping to deputise for Johnny Sexton.

Assistant coach Richie Murphy is excited to see what the talented 22-year-old can do if he is entrusted with the main playmaker role.

“He is one of those players that’s a little bit special because of his versatility,” Murphy said.

“He’s a great guy to watch. You try to build opportunities in or around him and with some of our set-plays and stuff like that.

“At the end of the day, he is one of those guys who has an ability to beat people and those guys don’t come around very often in Ireland; there’s plenty of them in Fiji. That makes him a little bit special and a little bit different.”

New Zealand-born Carbery has made just one start from his five Test caps to date

Ankle trouble denied Carbery the chance to tour Japan in the summer, but Murphy believes he has still stepped forward since last November when he made his Test debut during Ireland’s famous win over New Zealand in Chicago.

“If you look at where he was this time last year to where he is now, he’s obviously that year older and he’s filled out a bit,” added Murphy.

“He’s a little bit stronger and has come into our environment more as a 10 than as a 15 at the moment and he’s stepped up really well. He’s organised others around him and has fitted into that role really well.”

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