Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named a 32-man squad for the three test series in South Africa against the Springboks next month, one that contains a couple of new caps in Ulster flanker Sean Reidy and Connact secondrow Quinn Roux.
The 27-year -old Reidy joined Ulster in 2014, and has subsequently made 23 appearances scoring five tries. He signed a two-year contract extension earlier this year. The Auckland born player is equally at home in either the openside flanker role or that of number eight. He qualifies for Ireland through his grandfather who hailed from Castlegregory in Kerry.
Backrows Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien and Josh van der Flier were included in a list of players unavailable for selection as part of the official release but there was no mention of Munster’s Tommy O’Donnell, who isn’t included in the Irish squad. Leinster’s Jordi Murphy, outstanding in the semi-final win over Ulster last weekend, has timed his run perfectly, fending off several provincial rivals for one of the coveted backrow positions.
South African born Roux qualified under the three year residency rule having originally been signed by Leinster in 2012 before moving to Connacht, first on-loan (2014) and then fulltime. He trained with the extended Ireland squad during the Six Nations Championship.
Other notable absentees are Bordeaux Begles bound, Leinster outhalf Ian Madigan and Ulster inside centre Stuart McCloskey. Paddy Jackson is named as one of two outhalves, alongside Jonathan Sexton, while Stuart Olding, happily recovered from injury can also play in that position, as well as inside centre and fullback.
Luke Marshall receives a deserved call-up in recognition of his excellent form this season and he too can play several positions, including both centre roles. Schmidt elected to go with three scrumhalves and three hookers and five props. Finlay Bealham can cover both sides of the frontrow while Munster’s Dave Kilcoyne will understudy Jack McGrath on the loosehead side of the scrum.
Cian Healy, Denis Buckley, Nathan White Tommy Bowe, Andrew Conway and Simon Zebo were the other players name-checked in the IRFU communiqué as being unavailable for selection.
Schmidt said: “Touring South Africa will be arduous to say the least so we’ve attempted to prioritise players who are currently as close to full fitness as possible. In what is always a difficult balancing act, we’ve taken a long term view with a number of players who need a rest or will benefit from a full pre-season.”
The squad will depart for South Africa on Sunday, June 5th and will be based in Cape Town ahead of the first Test at the DHL Newlands Stadium before moving to Johannesburg for the second Test at Emirates Airline Park. The third and final Test will take place in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. All three Tests will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Ireland Squad for 2016 Summer Tour of South Africa
Finlay Bealham (Corinthians/Connacht)
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (c)
Sean Cronin (St Marys/Leinster)
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (vc)
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Jack McGrath (St Marys/Leinster)
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Sean Reidy (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht)
Rhys Ruddock (St Marys/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
CJ Stander (Munster)
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock/Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht)
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Jared Payne (Ulster)
Eoin Reddan (Old Crescent/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (St Marys/Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)