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 IRFU confirmed on Wednesday that GUINNESS Ireland will be sponsoring this month's three-match Test Series against South Africa, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Members of the extended 32-man Ireland squad arriving for training at St. Gerard's School in Bray on Monday. IrishRugby.ie's betting partners Paddy Power have Eddie O'Sullivan's men currently priced at 15/8 to win all three of their Autumn internationals.
Ireland's video analyst Mervyn Murphy gets footage of the session at St. Gerard's. The former Connacht centre, who was capped five times for Ireland's 'A' team, is also the assistant backs coach with AIB League Division One outfit Galwegians.
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan discusses tactics with his captain Brian O'Driscoll, who sustained a slight ankle injury in training on Tuesday but is expected to be fit for the South African Test match on Saturday week. The team and replacements for that tie will be announced next Tuesday.
Leinster's teenage winger Luke Fitzgerald watches on at training. The 19-year-old, who failed to make the cut for the South African game, should be available for his province's Magners League clash with the Dragons on Saturday (Donnybrook, kick-off 7.30pm).
Fitzgerald gets ready to run through a passing drill alongside Ulster's Paddy Wallace and Bryan Young. The latter two players have both been included in O'Sullivan's squad for the South African game. Young's brother Bob, a talented lock forward who has lined out with Ulster 'A', is captain of Ballymena this season.
Munster and Ireland team-mates Donncha O'Callaghan and Peter Stringer share a joke at training. The 27-year-old O'Callaghan has 27 Ireland caps to his name, but only ten of those have been as a starter.
He has scored three tries in his last ten Heineken Cup appearances for Munster, including recent efforts against Leicester Tigers and Bourgoin.
Denis Leamy, another of Ireland's Munster contingent, started all 11 of Ireland's internationals last season, making the number 8 position his own. His only try to date came in last March's Triple Crown-clinching win over England at Twickenham.
Leinster's Jamie Heaslip will be hopeful of challenging Denis Leamy for the number 8 spot, on the back of a number of barnstorming displays for his province and the Ireland 'A' team. But the Kildare man has been excluded from the Irish squad for the South African game, with David Wallace, Neil Best, Simon Easterby and Leamy to battle it out for the back row positions.
Leinster full-back Girvan Dempsey in jovial mood at training. The 31-year-old celebrated his 50th Heineken Cup cap in style with two tries against Edinburgh last Sunday, but his scores failed to prevent the province from going down 25-24 to the hosts.
Dempsey's cap in last June's Test match defeat to Australia marked his first start for Ireland since the previous summer's tour to Japan. The Terenure College clubman's caps tally stands at 66.
Ulster back row Stephen Ferris is another first-cap hopeful who has been chopped for the South African game. The 21-year-old will hope to figure in the later Tests against Australia and the Pacific Islands.
The Dungannon clubman will be ready if his country calls on him. Having recovered from minor surgery on his ankle during the summer, he said recently: "I feel on top of my game at the minute. Full tilt. Even though I was wrecked after 65 minutes against Toulouse, we've got people on the (Ulster) bench who can come on and do a good job.
"That's all the coaches ask for, to empty the tank in big games."
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll sat out Monday's training session in Bray. The Leinster centre damaged his ankle on Tuesday, but is expected to be fit to lead out Ireland for the first of their three Autumn internationals on Saturday week.
Looking ahead to the Series, O'Driscoll said: "It's exciting times knowing that you're going to be playing for one of the last times at Lansdowne Road. Having South Africa and Australia, in particular, visiting Lansdowne is going to be enormous for us. It's a great barometer for us as to see the improvement of the Irish team and where we rate against the Southern Hemisphere sides."
Since his appointment as Irish coach in November 2001, Eddie O'Sullivan has overseen 38 wins in 57 Test matches for the men in green.
**All photos by Dan Sheridan of Inpho Photography**
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