By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Ireland’s chances of making a winning start to this season’s Six Nations championship were reduced last week when it was revealed that captain Keith Wood is doubtful for the opening game against Wales at Lansdowne Road on Sunday.
Unable to play for his club last weekend because of a calf injury, Wood is now rated as unlikely to feature against the Welsh.
In addition to Wood’s absence, there are also injury worries over Shane Horgan and Malcolm O’Kelly. Geordan Murphy is the most likely replacement for Horgan, who had bruised ribs, while Paul O’Connell, who starred in Munster’s European Cup win over Stade Francais, has been drafted into the squad as cover for O’Kelly.
With new coach Eddie O’Sullivan in charge, the Irish have the advantage of home games against Wales, Scotland and Italy. However, the away matches against championship favorites England and France could see O’Sullivan’s side finishing third at best in the championship.
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