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Published: 12:49 | 11/3/16

Healy out of Italy game

Cian Healy has been ruled out of Ireland's RBS Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday.

Healy had been named on the replacements bench for the game at the Aviva Stadium but just 24 hours before kick-off he has been ruled out because of a hamstring injury.

Connacht's Finlay Bealham has been called into the match-day 23 as cover for Healy with the Australian-born 24-year-old, who qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandmother, set to win his first cap if he is introduced from the bench.

“He’s slotted in really well,” Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby said of Bealham.

“He’s been involved from the start, this is his first opportunity to get Test rugby. Connacht are going very well, he’s impressed everyone and it’s down to his hard work.

“He can play both sides of the scrum, which is pretty important. First and foremost, he has to get his focus on the scrum right. He’s comfortable with ball in hand, it’s a big step up from Pro12 to Six Nations, but it’s a step that we feel he’s ready to make.”

Healy pulled up in training but scans have revealed the injury is not serious and he could feature against Scotland next weekend.

"No player likes to pick up niggles and that’s what it is,” Easterby said. "It’s something that he’s had to deal with. It’s frustrating, but he’s mature enough to accept the reasons and to know that it won’t compromise next week.”

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