DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland captain Rory Best has been ruled out of next month’s three-test series in Australia due to a hamstring injury, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said on Thursday.
Best, who led Ireland to a Six Nations grand slam this year, will be replaced by Munster hooker Niall Scannell in an otherwise near full-strength touring squad.
Scannell, who has won seven caps for his country, will compete with the similarly internationally inexperienced Rob Herring of Ulster for the number two jersey, while Johnny Sexton and Peter O’Mahoney will share captaincy duties.
Sexton’s understudy at flyhalf, Joey Carbery, also announced on Thursday that he will join Munster from rival Irish province Leinster.
Carbery’s future has been up in the air since Ireland coach Joe Schmidt asked the 22-year-old whether he would consider a move to another Irish province to get more game time at number 10 ahead of next year’s World Cup.
Carbery has featured more often at fullback for the European champions with fellow Leinster youngster Ross Byrne, in line for an international debut against the Wallabies, favoured at flyhalf whenever Sexton was missing.
World number two Ireland open the series on June 9 hoping for their first win in Australia since 1979.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Ed Osmond)