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Emerging Ireland set to tour South Africa with coaching team announced

By Josh Raisey
Defence coach Simon Easterby, right, speaks to forwards coach Paul O'Connell during an Ireland rugby squad training session at Complexe de la Chambrerie in Tours, France. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland defence coach Simon Easterby will take charge of an Emerging Ireland team that will tour South Africa later this year.

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The IRFU have reprised the Emerging Ireland team for the first time since 2022, who will travel to South Africa in October to face Currie Cup outfits the Pumas and the Cheetahs, as well as Super Rugby Pacific’s Western Force.

Easterby will lead the team, and will be joined by a set of his Ireland colleagues. Forwards coach Paul O’Connell, scrum coach John Fogarty and incoming backs coach Andrew Goodman will work under Easterby when the squad assemble at the IRFU High Performance Centre on September 25.

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Damian de Allende talks about the plaudits heaped on him by his teammates

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Damian de Allende talks about the plaudits heaped on him by his teammates

This appointment is the latest hint by the IRFU that Easterby will lead Ireland in the 2025 Six Nations with current head coach Andy Farrell set to take a sabbatical as he prepares for the British & Irish Lions tour later that year.

“The 2022 Tour was of huge value, as evidenced by the cohort of players who have come through and been capped at Test level for Ireland since,” Easterby said.

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“It will be a short preparation window leading into three tough matches but that is part of the challenge for the whole group, building connections and getting up to speed to meet the demands of playing in a green jersey.”

Farrell added: “We are delighted to confirm details of a second Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa later this year, the value of which cannot be understated. This short three-match window will once again provide an opportunity for players within the system to come into a national team environment, work with the national team coaches and access meaningful game time in a green jersey.

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“Ahead of a busy four-match Autumn Nations Series in November, it is important we continue to broaden our selection pool and ensure young players are given every opportunity to further develop and gain an understanding of what is required to perform for Ireland at the highest level.”

The Emerging Ireland tour will see the side face the Pumas on Wednesday October 2, followed by the Western Force on Sunday October 6, before taking on the Cheetahs on Wednesday October 9.

Before Easterby and his team think about the Emerging Ireland tour, they have another tour of South Africa to concentrate on first, as Ireland face the world champion Springboks in July.

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