Autumn International Rugby: Keith Earls out for Ireland

Keith Earls Ireland v samoa

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Ireland have been hit by the news Keith Earls has been ruled out of their opening autumn international clash against Samoa on Saturday.

Earls is struggling with patella tendinitis in his knee and has been told he will play no part in the clash at the Aviva Stadium.

Despite the setback, Ireland have not given up hope of him playing some part in the Tests against Australia and New Zealand later this month.

There is better news for new coach Joe Schmidt as Paul O’Connell, Cian Healy and Sean O’Brien are all set to take part in training on Tuesday.

O’Connell is among the candidates to captain Ireland and his return comes as a big boost, as does the news that O’Brien has overcome an ankle problem.

Healy has been struggling with a knee injury, but could get the nod if he comes through training without any problems this week.

Jonathan Sexton has had a heavy schedule of Top 14 matches with Racing Metro but has been passed fit and could figure, while Andrew Trimble, Donnacha O’Callaghan and Roger Wilson are back training after playing for their provincial sides at the weekend.

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