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Four capped players named in the 35-man Emerging Ireland squad

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Robert Baloucoune, Caolin Blade, Shane Daly and Max Deegan are the four players previously capped by Andy Farrell at Test level with Ireland who have been named in the 35-man Emerging Ireland squad that Simon Easterby is taking with him later this month to South Africa for the Toyota Challenge.

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An IRFU statement read: “Emerging Ireland will have a three-day camp in the IRFU’s high-performance centre in Dublin before flying to Bloemfontein to play against three Currie Cup sides – the Griquas, Pumas and Cheetahs.

The squad contains four capped players – Robert Baloucoune (two caps), Caolin Blade (one cap), Shane Daly (two caps) and Max Deegan (one cap) – and three players who featured against the Maori All Blacks during the summer – Ciaran Frawley, Joe McCarthy and Cian Prendergast. Jamie Osborne and Tom Ahern have both trained with the senior Ireland squad as development players.

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“Eight players featured in the Ireland U20 side that won a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019 – Tom Clarkson, Brian Deeny, Jake Flannery, John Hodnett, Michael Milne, Scott Penny, Callum Reid and Dylan Tierney-Martin.

“2022 U20 Six Nations Grand Slam winners James Culhane and Chay Mullins are also included. James was named U20 player of the tournament while Chay has gone on to win a bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.

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“Andrew Smith also played for Ireland 7s in last weekend’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa. The former Ireland U20 has played in seven World Series tournaments and won an Energia AIL title with Clontarf this year.”

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David Nucifora, the IRFU performance director, said: “This Emerging Ireland tour is of vital strategic importance in a Rugby World Cup year. It will put some stress on our player resources but it will provide an opportunity for emerging talent to impress the national coaches early in a World Cup season. As these players return to their provinces their progress can be monitored and supported so that they remain part of the national team picture.

“The three games in Bloemfontein and the game against the All Blacks XV in Dublin provide an incredible opportunity for these players to gain experience in the national environment and force their way into the coaches’ thinking for the season ahead.”

Ireland head coach Farrell added: “This opportunity provides another window for players to develop and show they can thrive in the intensity of a national environment. It will be exciting to see which players step up and put themselves in the frame for a further opportunity to impress in November.

“For some players, it is an opportunity to build on what they have already learned in national camp and take their development to the next level, for others it is a first opportunity to show the national coaches what they are about and what they can deliver.”

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Emerging Ireland Squad -Toyota Challenge 2022
Backs (15)
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen)
Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians)
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution)
Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Constitution)
Nathan Doak (Ulster/Banbridge)
Jake Flannery (Ulster/Shannon)
Antoine Frisch (Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)
Michael McDonald (Ulster)
Ethan McIlroy (Ulster/Queens RFC)
Stewart Moore (Ulster/Malone)
Chay Mullins (Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Calvin Nash (Munster/Young Munster)
Jamie Osbourne (Leinster/Naas)
Andrew Smith (Leinster/Clontarf)

Forwards (20)
Tom Ahern (Munster/Shannon)
Diarmuid Barron (Munster/Garryowen)
Tom Clarkson (Leinster/Dublin University)
James Culhane (Leinster/UCD)
Max Deegan (Leinster/Lansdowne)
Brian Deeny (Leinster/Clontarf)
John Hodnett (Munster/UCC)
Sam Illo (Connacht)
Cormac Izuchukwu (Ulster/Ballynahinch)
Alex Kendellen (Munster/UCC)
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University)
Michael Milne (Leinster/UCD)
Scott Penny (Leinster/UCD)
Cian Prendergast (Connacht)
Callum Reid (Ulster/Banbridge)
Roman Salonoa (Munster/Shannon)
Alex Soroka (Leinster/Clontarf)
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)
Dylan Tierney-Martin (Connacht/Corinthians)
Josh Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster)

Emerging Ireland Toyota Challenge fixtures
Windhoek Draught Griquas vs Emerging Ireland
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Friday 30th September 2022, KO 12:45 (Irish time)

Airlink Pumas vs Emerging Ireland
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Wednesday 5th October 2022, KO 16:00 (Irish time)

Toyota Cheetahs vs Emerging Ireland
Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Sunday 9th October 2022, KO 12:00 (Irish time)

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