19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
Former Ireland internationals Victor Costello and Tony Ward shared their Lansdowne Road memories on a special edition of RTI's Drivetime Sport this week. The show, set up by the Irish Rugby Supporters Club, was taped at Lansdowne and attended by some lucky members of the Supporters Club.
"It was certainly special running out at Lansdowne Road. It's every schoolboy's dream. I was very lucky, the first couple of years we played we won the Leinster Senior Cup, but probably the most important year when I was captain, we didn't.
"I remember looking up during a semi-final, it was a repeat semi-final, Danny Rock was captain on the other side and I was captain for Blackrock. With about ten minutes to go, I remember looking at my mother and I felt like saying to her: 'you're not going to be wearing the hat next week mum!'
"That was kind of a low point for us at a very young age, but we came back and won it the next year. It was a good lesson in the ups and downs of rugby.
"The first international game I played at Lansdowne Road would have been coming out against Scotland in 1996. It was a very special time, my first cap was in the States but playing at Lansdowne Road was obviously very special as the last time I played there would have been at schools level.
"I came on as a sub. We lost narrowly but it certainly was a great experience.
"The try I remember (scoring at Lansdowne) was the one against Wales (in 1998) from the scrum. I was normally good at running a couple of yards, but not too good at running many yards! I baled over a couple of guys and got bearhugged by Reggie Corrigan and did something to my back. We talked about it over a couple of pints afterwards and are still talking about it.
"I suppose when I was growing up it was always great to see David Campese play at Lansdowne Road, he played here for New South Wales and Australia. He was probably the best player I've seen at Lansdowne.
"(On the redevelopment) we've got to have some progression, obviously people are sad about Lansdowne Road and moving on and obviously I'm the same having played here, but progression is what it's all about. If you look at the Irish team these days they're not accepting mediocrity so neither should we."
...The line-up of greats, including legendary Munster, Ireland and Lions out-half Tony Ward (far left), who kept the Irish Rugby Supporters Club and RTI Radio 1 listeners intrigued with their memories of Lansdowne Road...
"My first trip to Lansdowne for an international was a happy memory. It was the 1970 Ireland-Wales game. I was down at the Havelock Square end when Ken Goodall chipped and scored his try.
The other one I remember was Alan 'Dixie' Duggan and his famous try in the corner (in the same game). I think there's a photograph from that game down in a pub in Roscrea with a spectator with his arms out and Dixie diving for the corner.
"1972 was my first time playing here (at Lansdowne). We played High School in the semi-final of the cup, we had a particularly good team - I was captain of the Mary's side - we had beaten everybody that year. The High School side had John Robbie at scrum half and Ian Burns at out-half and they beat us 10-9. That was a huge disappointment and it never left me, it's always been there.
"First game for Ireland was against Scotland in '78, we won 12-9. It was the first game of the season I remember, we were 12-9 ahead and their scrum half Douglas Morgan, who went on to manage Scotland, had a penalty down at the Havelock Square end to equalise the game, but Scotland wanted to win the triple crown and he ran it. We defended and he took some stick back in Scotland from that game.
"It's probably the most difficult ground to kick at in the world. It's nigh on impossible to read the wind here, behind both stands, the wind blows all over the place. Down one end of the field you've got the flags blowing one direction. You look at the Wanderers end and they're blowing the opposite way.
"It's very, very difficult to judge and for a full-back it's a nightmare. You were acutely aware of that, as an outside half if you stuck the ball up in the air it was likely to go anywhere.
"The first game I ever attended here was a Schools Cup final between Mary's and Newbridge in 1966, and my own personal hero was playing that day - he's sadly long passed away. Shay Deering, he was captain of that side.
"(On the best player I've seen at Lansdowne) I just found watching (Welsh winger) TGR Davies, Gerald Davies, brilliant. I just thought he was magic. I played against him a few times which was just a fantastic thrill. He had that ability to sidestep off either foot and at pace, and he was just magic on legs.
"It's a very nostalgic day this Sunday. I know we've got a couple of Leinster games to go yet before we moved on but it was a great ground, a unique ground. We've all got fantastic memories from here and it holds such a special place in the hearts and minds of Irish people everywhere."
Exclusive Access, Tickets, Competitions and Much More