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.
Although the squad of 40 players came from all over England, and Wales, the majority came from the Home Counties.
Encouraged by coaches Peter Halsall and Kevin Bell, their success was based on a well-organised defence and a willingness to keep the ball in hand. Centres David Keane (North of England) and Ed Hoadley (London) were to the fore in both attack and defence. While the front row of Adam Friel (London), Sean O'Donnell (London) and James Gregg (Hampshire) never took a step back.
Their success has meant that eight of the players will be invited to trial for the Ireland Youth side.
The U17s age group was a new venture for the Exiles. A squad of 22 players undertook a training session at Brunel University and in the afternoon played a game against the Welsh Exiles. Although they lost this game, the boys produced some excellent rugby and provided a good indication that there is some Irish talent still to be discovered.
Although the U19s kick off their season in December, six Exiles players, based on their club form and previous exposure to the Irish Selectors, were in Dublin with the Ireland U19 squad over the last weekend in November.
The players: John Hill (London Wasps), Robbie Shaw (London Wasps), Paul Lidster (Bristol) Simon Ward (London Irish),Steven Bennett (London Irish), Ed Hoadley (London Irish).
All have been identified through the Exiles annual screening camp and been involved with the Exiles U18s over the past two seasons. Shaw came off the bench as a 17 year old to play for Ireland U19s against Italy last season and Ward was a member of the squad for the same game.
Another Exile 18 year old Prop, Declan Fitzpatrick (Birmingham), now a member of the Ulster Elite Player Development programme, joined his former teammates in Dublin for the weekend after playing for his Club Belfast Harlequins.
The final fixture before Xmas is the U19 game v, Welsh Exiles, at Trailfinders Sports Grounds, Ealing, West London; kick-off 2 p.m.