The Irish Rugby Squad for November Internationals has been announced, its the first squad named since the departure of Declan Kidney.
The 42 players named by new coach Joe Schmidt will assemble at Carton House for Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, to commence their preparations for the Guinness Series in November.
Connacht fans may not be very happy with only one player for their team being named in the extended squad. There are an astonishing 19 players from Leinster in the squad.
Ulster players Tom Court and Darren Cave are notable omissions from squad.
Ireland Coach Joe Schmidt spoke briefly about the selections and the objectives for the camp.
“Selection was difficult as it’s the first time we have had to narrow our focus a bit and determine a cut off point for players. A number of selections were very tight which is positive. The group is predominantly ‘tried and proven’ but with some newer faces as well. It’s an opportunity to get to know the players as well as an opportunity to have a look ahead and start to get a little bit of organization done for the Guinness Series.”
There are a number of players such as Tommy O’Donnell, Michael Bent, Stuart Olding, Andrew Trimble, Craig Gilroy and Felix Jones that were not considered due to injury but some of these players may well be involved in the autumn as they return to full fitness and resume playing.
There are also a few players who have not yet had many opportunities to make an impression and a few youngsters who have been impressive in the early rounds of the Pro 12 that we’ve left to keep working with their provinces.
There is no doubting the challenge that autumn presents but we’re looking forward to getting a little bit of a head start this weekend”
The New Zealand All Blacks will be the third team to be welcomed to the Aviva Stadium in the Guinness Autumn series and will provide the sternest test in Joe Schmidt’s early tenure as head coach of the Irish rugby team.
At present the All Blacks are undefeated in the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship. Three wins, including one away to Australia, 12 tries and a gathering head of steam mean that Irish may well be welcoming the Rugby Championship champions on Sunday the 24th of November.
With games home and away against South Africa, the only other team in the running, and a trip to Argentina New Zealand are firm favourites to secure the championship.
Ireland’s record against the All Blacks does not make comfortable reading. The teams have gone head to head on 27 occasions with the All Blacks prevailing on 26 with 1 solitary draw the only blemish in the record. That draw was all the way back in 1973 more recently we finished within 3 heartbreaking points of them in 2012.
Joe Schmidt will be hoping for a strong start against the Samoans before the visit of an Australian team who will be seeking vengeance after their Lions defeat. In fairness it was mostly the Welsh that were the offending party there so hopefully the Wallabies will be keeping their powder dry for their clash with the Welsh. Schmidt has very little to lose in this tussle with the All Blacks, he will be hoping that any defeat will not be too demoralising and will come on the back of wins in the first two test with the real deal coming the following spring as Ireland hope to make more of a mark in the 6 Nations..
Ireland Training Squad (22-23 September)
Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
James Coughlan (Dolphin/Munster)
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
Shane Jennings (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemian/Munster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Mike McCarthy (Leinster)
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Niall Morris (Leicester Tigers)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)
Mike Sherry (Garryowen/Munster)
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)
Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)