24 May, 14:08
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
The Pacific Islanders are expected to have their frontline team available for next month's Test match against Ireland despite fears that European clubs might not release their players.
With many of Pat Lam's squad being employed overseas, particularly in France, there have been question marks over whether the likes of Fijian winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca would be available for the Islanders' three-Test tour of Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Last week Caucaunibuca admitted that he might have to miss the clashes with Wales (November 11) and Scotland (November 18), in order to play for his club Agen in the French Top 14 Championship.
But International Rugby Board Head of Communications Greg Thomas has confirmed that since the tour is IRB sanctioned, all rules and regulations will apply to the clubs releasing their players.
No club or union can stand in the way of Islanders coach Lam assembling his selected squad, although Fijian prop Deacon Manu, who plays for Llanelli Scarlets, mysteriously withdrew from the squad last week, citing injury. His place has gone to Justin Va'a of Samoa.
However the Islanders' team manager Joe Browne was unimpressed by Manu's excuses, saying: "There is no truth in it that Deacon Manu has been replaced because he is injured. It is just that Manu had opted out of the team."
Samoa's Leicester-based back row Henry Tuilagi is certainly injured - he damaged his hamstring during training and Hale T'ipoli has been brought in to replace him.
Lam insists: "I don't think the changes will affect the team much. These replacements are class players and should be able to fit in well and deliver what is needed.
"I do not envisage any more changes happening in the future. I just hope we don't have any more players injured in the next few days."
Manager Browne added that as the tour was "sanctioned by the IRB and is in the IRB window, it should take priority over club commitments."
Regulation nine of the IRB Rule Book stipulates that "no club, whether by contract or otherwise, may inhibit, prevent or render unavailable any player from selection and appearance for their national team."
That rule will stand for the Islanders' upcoming Test matches. The proposed warm-up game against NEC Harlequins, at the Stoop next Wednesday, had to be cancelled due to the unavailability of players within the tourists' squad.
The Islanders squad is due to assemble in London on Sunday, November 5 - three weeks later they will take part in the last ever rugby international to be played at Lansdowne Road (kick-off 2.45pm) before the stadium's redevelopment.