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.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) May 2, 2017
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.
The 27-year-old’s inspirational ascent to international rugby is a fantastic story and a testament to McKinley’s ambitious attitude.
On the Oval Office rugby podcast this week, we hear from Gordon D’Arcy and Nick Evans, and talk PRO12, Premiership and Lions midfield.