The former Ireland U20 international may be able to play on Irish soil in 2016.
THE IRFU HAS applied to take part in World Rugby’s trial of Raleri’s protective goggles in rugby, meaning Ian McKinley will be free to play in Ireland if that application is accepted.
The former Leinster out-half, who lost sight in one eye after a training-ground accident in 2010, has been campaigning for the IRFU to take part in World Rugby’s trial.
The IRFU’s previous reluctance to be part of the trial had meant that McKinley was unable to play on Irish soil due to the fact that he now wears Raleri’s protective goggles when playing rugby.
Ex-Ireland U20 international McKinley retired from professional rugby in 2011 on account of the loss of sight in his left eye, but returned to the sport in 2014 after a move to take up a coaching position in Italy.
With the Italian federation part of the goggles trial, McKinley excelled for third division for Leonorso, earning a move to Viadana in Italy’s top division. He made his Guinness Pro12 debut for Zebre earlier this season, after joining as a permit player, but was unable to feature in an away match against Connacht.
McKinley’s campaign to have the IRFU reverse their stance on the goggles trial picked up major support from the rugby community in Ireland in recent months, with more than 13,000 people signing a petition on the subject.
The IRFU has now confirmed its application to participate in the ongoing World Rugby Raleri goggles trial, following a recommendation by the IRFU medical committee, who performed a thorough review of World Rugby trial data and updated advice given by independent medical experts.
The current restriction on goggles will remain in place until the IRFU has been confirmed as a participant in the World Rugby trial, although they hope the process will be completed early in 2016.
“If the IRFU is accepted onto the trial those seeking to wear goggles on the field must then apply to World Rugby to participate in the trial and purchase the Raleri goggles directly from the Italian manufacturer – in accordance with the terms of the trial, no other eyewear will be permitted,” reads the IRFU statement.
“The IRFU encourages parents, players, coaches and volunteers to review information available from World Rugby in relation to the trial.”
Find out more about the goggles trial here.
Story Source : http://www.the42.ie/