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Ireland name 2 uncapped players and recall Zebo after 4 years out

By Liam Heagney

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Andy Farrell has named a 38-strong Ireland squad for next month’s international series, keeping veteran Johnny Sexton on as captain, recalling Simon Zebo from the international wilderness and including two uncapped players from Leinster in the guise of Ciaran Frawley and Dan Sheehan. Ireland begin their schedule versus Japan on November 6 and follow it with matches versus New Zealand and Argentina.

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Aside from bringing in two untried players, Farrell has given a vote of confidence to what was seen during the July summer series as Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne, Gavin Coombes, James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney – who all won their debut caps – have been retained.

Six of the Ireland players who toured Lions during the summer – Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadgh Furlong, Iain Henderson and Conor Murray – are also included as is Ronan Kelleher, who joined the squad mid-tour in South Africa. Robbie Henshaw, though, hasn’t been officially named in the squad due to a foot injury but he will continue his rehabilitation programme under the supervision of the Ireland medical team.

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See Louis Rees-Zammit as you have never seen him before
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The biggest development, though, was the inclusion of Zebo in an Ireland squad for the first time since summer 2017 when he won the last of his 35 caps on tour in Japan. On announcing that October that he would be leaving Munster for Racing in France at the end of the 2017/18 season, he was immediately excluded from national team selection by then-head coach Joe Schmidt.

While in the Top 14 Zebo regularly expressed his desire to play again for Ireland at some stage in the future and that ambition has now taken a massive step towards fruition with Farrell including the 31-year-old in his plans after the winger/full-back rejoined Munster in the recent off-season.

Farrell said: “It has been a short lead-in to this international window but that is the challenge, to get back up to speed quickly and build on the performances from the Six Nations and the summer Tests. This is the start of an exciting period for the group as we begin to build towards the World Cup in France.

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“In September we got together and mapped out what was coming up in this window, the exciting fixtures that lay ahead in the next twelve months and beyond that the opportunities to improve as a group over the next five windows we will have together.”

IRELAND AUTUMN NATIONS SERIES SQUAD
Backs (18):
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 31 caps
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 1 cap
Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) 1 cap
Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 24 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 3 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 25 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 93 caps
Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)*
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 10 caps
James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 13 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 30 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 6 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 5 caps
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 89 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 99 caps CAPTAIN
Simon Zebo (Munster/Cork Constitution) 35 caps

Forwards (20):
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 5 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 16 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 22 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 20 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 19 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 9 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 49 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 109 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 63 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 22 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 45 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 76 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 1 cap
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne)*
Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
*denotes uncapped player
Development Players
Thomas Ahern (Munster/Shannon)
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas)

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Ireland name 2 uncapped players and recall Zebo after 4 years out

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