Dan Kelly has recently broken through to the Leicester Tigers first team, but Irish management teams will be without the talented centre after he was named in Eddie Jones' squad for England's summer internationals.
The Leicester centre was born in Manchester, but had played all three games of Ireland's COVID-shortened U-20 Six Nations campaign last year, and the IRFU had hoped he would continue to develop through their underage system. Rumours suggest that they tried to sign Kelly to one of the provinces last summer, with a view to getting him involved in the Irish senior setup down the line.
Kelly turns 20 next week and, on the day Ireland's squad for the U-20 Six Nations was named, he found himself called up for the England senior team for the first time. His callup to the England squad would appear to end any hope that he will find himself lining out for the Irish senior side at any stage later in his career.
2⃣1⃣ uncapped players feature in the training squad selected by Eddie Jones today 🌹
Jones has urged them to seize their opportunity, read more on our website ⬇️
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) June 10, 2021
Kelly's breakthrough into the Leicester first team at such a young age suggests Ireland have lost a major prospect for the future. Ireland U-20s coach Richie Murphy spoke to RTÉ about his disappointment at Kelly's decision at his squad announcement yesterday.
It's obviously disappointing. We'll deal with the players that we have here and we have got some fantastic rugby players here. Obviously Dan is a loss. He was in our system last year. He obviously went back to Leicester and is in college over there. His life is around that area. Within the conversations that the IRFU have had with him, Dan has been very good.
He really enjoyed his time with us but he feels that he needs to go in a different direction at the moment. We respect his decision and we move on from it.
In a week where Jack Grealish and Declan Rice both fielded questions on why they chose to represent the English football team over Ireland, Dan Kelly's decision is another painful loss to our bitter rivals across the water.