Home Rugby Former Ireland Under-20 Star Named In Italy Squad For Summer Tests

Former Ireland Under-20 Star Named In Italy Squad For Summer Tests

Another Irish element has been added to the Italy rugby squad for their summer tests.

Former Ireland Under-20 and Leinster star Ian McKinley has been drafted into Italy’s by head coach Conor O’Shea for the Azzurri’s upcoming fixtures against Scotland, Fiji and Australia.

McKinley’s road to senior international rugby is a truly remarkable one. Having made a name for himself in the Irish youth side and begun to break into the Leinster senior setup, a freak accident in a training game in 2011 left him without sight in his left eye, forcing him into an early retirement. Despite hanging up his boots, however, McKinley began to embark on a coaching career with Leonorso Udine in 2012.

The out-half began playing for the Serie C side in 2014 with the aid of protective goggles. His performances in Italy’s lower divisions with Leonorso and later Viadana were enough to earn him a move to the top tier of Italian rugby with Zebre, before moving on to Treviso this season.

GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Ian McKinley of Benetton Treviso during the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Gloucester Rugby and Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Gloucester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old’s inspirational ascent to international rugby is a fantastic story and a testament to McKinley’s ambitious attitude.

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On the Oval Office rugby podcast this week, we hear from Gordon D’Arcy and Nick Evans, and talk PRO12, Premiership and Lions midfield.

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