The Ireland coaching group has this afternoon named a 38 player squad for the 2017 Guinness Series which sees Ireland take on South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in the Aviva Stadium in November and there are 18 Leinster Rugby players included.
Adam Byrne is the only uncapped Leinster player in that list. The Kildare man came through the Leinster Youths system having played with Naas RFC and is the youngest player to have ever played for Leinster. He has made 29 appearances for Leinster since that debut as an 18 year old in December 2012 against Connacht.
While two serious leg injuries have hampered his progress since then, last year was a stunning season for the 23 year old scoring 10 tries in 20 appearances in his first senior campaign.
He has featured in five games for Leo Cullen’s side this season and gets his first shot at a senior Ireland jersey in the upcoming series having had six caps at Ireland Under 20 level.
The South Africa fixture on Saturday 11th November is first up for Joe Schmidt and his squad and is a sell-out but there are limited tickets available for Fiji (45,000+ sold) and Argentina (50,000+ sold).
Ireland face the Springboks for the first time since the 2016 Summer Tour where Ireland recorded a first ever victory on South African soil at Newlands but ultimately lost the series decider. Earlier this month the Boks came within a point of beating the All Blacks in their final game of this year’s Rugby Championship having twice drawn with Australia and recorded victories home and away against the Pumas.
The Bok squad will be led by the 63 time capped lock Eben Etzebeth with their full European tour travelling party set to be named after the Currie Cup final.
Fiji come to Ireland as the reigning Pacific Nations Cup champions and have secured qualification for Rugby World Cup 2019 by virtue of being the top team in the region over the course of the past two seasons.
There are a number of familiar names within their squad such as Newcastle Falcons’ Vereniki Goneva, Racing 92’s Leone Nakarawa and Toulon’s Josua Tuisova while Montpellier’s Nemani Nadolo could also feature for the Flying Fijians.
The final game of the Guinness Series sees Ireland square off against Argentina. The two sides have not met since the RWC quarter-final in Cardiff in October 2015. The Pumas have recently added Mario Ledesma to their backroom team. The hooker who was capped 84 times for his country joins from the Wallabies backroom team and played under Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at Clermont Auvergne.
Ireland Head Coach, Joe Schmidt, commented, “In what we anticipate will be an incredibly physical Guinness Series plenty will be demanded of the squad.
We have retained a core of experienced players but have also included a number of promising players that we hope will acquit themselves well.”
2017 Guinness Series Squad
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) CAPTAIN 104 caps
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 4 caps
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 10 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 16 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 70 caps
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 32 caps
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 1 cap
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 20 caps
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 41 caps
Seán O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 49 caps
Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 40 caps
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 2 caps
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 16 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 2 caps
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 9 caps
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 15 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 50 caps
James Tracy (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Kieran Treadwell (Ballymena/Ulster) 2 caps
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) uncapped
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster) uncapped
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 4 caps
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 3 caps
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 62 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) uncapped
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 29 caps
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 16 caps
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 76 caps
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster) 5 caps
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 16 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/UIster) 1 cap
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 57 caps
Johnny Sexton (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 66 caps
Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 2 caps
Darren Sweetnam (Cork Constitution/Munster) uncapped