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Four Uncapped Players Included In Ireland’s GUINNESS Series Squad

Four Uncapped Players Included In Ireland’s GUINNESS Series Squad

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has named a 38-man squad, which includes four uncapped players, for next month’s GUINNESS Series games against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium.

The four uncapped players are Connacht centre Bundee Aki, who is now Irish-qualified through residency, Leinster’s 23-year-old winger Adam Byrne and the Munster duo of Chris Farrell and Darren Sweetnam who are both 24.

The selected squad is captained by Rory Best, who returned from a hamstring injury for Ulster last week, and features ten players who made their Ireland debuts within the last year, including Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale and Kieran Treadwell and Leinster forwards Andrew Porter and James Ryan, who won their first caps during the summer tour to the USA and Japan.

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Connacht lock Ultan Dillane is another player back from injury and pressing for his first Test appearance since February, while Ulster’s Rob Herring and Stuart McCloskey will be aiming to add their single caps, and Leinster winger Dave Kearney, who last played for Ireland in February of last year, has also made the cut.

Ireland’s GUINNESS Series opener against South Africa on Saturday, November 11 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 they recorded a first ever victory on South African soil at Newlands but ultimately lost the series decider.

Earlier this month South Africa 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 Argentina.  
The Springboks’ squad for next month will be led by 63-times capped lock Eben Etzebeth, who played against Ireland in Dublin in both 2012 and 2014, with their full touring 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 imposing winger Nemani Nadolo, who touched down twice against Leinster this month, could also feature for the flying Fijians.
The final game of the 2017 GUINNESS Series sees Ireland square off against Argentina. The two sides have not met since the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff in October 2015, with Ireland winning five of their last six clashes with the Pumas.
Looking forward to the three-match series, 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.”

Skipper Best leads the list of ten players who were involved in the British & Irish Lions’ epic tour of New Zealand. Best, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Murray, Jonathan Sexton, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Jack McGrath, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander will all be back in the green jersey next month, with Ulster’s Jared Payne, the only absent 2017 Lion, still currently sidelined.

IRELAND Squad (2017 GUINNESS Series):
Player/Club/Province/Caps –
Backs (17):
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) *
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster) *
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 4
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 3
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 62
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) *
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 29
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 16
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 76
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster) 5
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 16
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/UIster) 1
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 4
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 57
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 66
Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 2
Darren Sweetnam (Cork Constitution/Munster) *

Forwards (21):
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt) 104
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 4
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 10
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 16
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 70
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 32
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 1
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 20
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 4
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 41
Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 49
Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 40
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 2
Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 16
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 2
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 9
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 15
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 50
James Tracy (UCD/Leinster) 4
Kieran Treadwell (Ballymena/Ulster) 2

* Denotes uncapped player

2017 GUINNESS Series Fixtures –
IRELAND v South Africa
Saturday, November 11, kick-off 5.30pm
Aviva Stadium
Saturday, November 18, kick-off 5.30pm
Aviva Stadium
IRELAND v Argentina

Saturday, November 25, kick-off 5.30pm
Aviva Stadium