Champions Cup Squads Announced & It Doesn’t Bode Well For Irish Provinces
European Professional Club Rugby has released all 20 squads for the upcoming Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions.
Last Friday, each team was required to submit their 41-man squad for the pool stages of the competitions.
One week on and all 820 names have been loaded into the EPCR database, and website, for our consumption.
Collateral damage from Ireland’s World Cup campaign is severe for the Irish provinces.
Munster must do without Peter O’Mahony until next year. The captain damaged knee ligaments against France and though a definitive return date has not been set, the fact that Munster have not included him does not bode well.
There is better news for Anthony Foley as Tommy O’Donnell, who dislocated his hip in July, is included in the squad.
We already knew that Tommy Bowe was facing at least six months on the sidelines after he injured knee in the quarter final loss to Argentina. The winger is left out of their 41-man list but there is one surprising omission.
There is no Jared Payne. The versatile back injured his foot in training before the France game. It was initially announced as a bruised foot but another scan revealed a bone fracture.
The lack of Payne in the Ulster squad suggests he may not return until 2016 too.
Paul O’Connell is named in the Toulon squad. The recently retired Ireland captain must be optimistic of returning before the January 2016 end of the pool stages. James O’Connor ands Quade Cooper have also been included for Toulon.