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Ireland pick five uncapped players in 40-man New Zealand tour squad

By PA
(Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has included five uncapped players in his 40-man squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand. Leinster trio Ciaran Frawley, Joe McCarthy and Jimmy O’Brien have secured places on the plane, alongside Munster’s Jeremy Loughman and Connacht’s Cian Prendergast. Robert Baloucoune, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell and Ronan Kelleher have been ruled out of the three-match Test series through injury.

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Ireland will take on New Zealand on July 2, 9 and 16 in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington respectively, with midweek clashes against the Maori All Blacks scheduled for June 29 and July 12. Versatile Frawley was included in Farrell’s squad for last year’s autumn internationals but did not feature. The 24-year-old can operate at fly-half, inside centre or full-back.

Back-rower Prendergast, 22, was involved as a development player during this year’s Guinness Six Nations, while prop Loughman, 26, and back O’Brien, 25, were called into camp to provide cover during that campaign. Lock Joe McCarthy, 21, will be involved with the senior side for the first time.

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The Breakdown | Sky Sport NZ | Episode 17

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The Breakdown | Sky Sport NZ | Episode 17

With Connacht’s Jack Carty sidelined having undergone wrist surgery, Leinster’s Harry Byrne will provide back-up for the No10 jersey behind captain Johnny Sexton and deputy Joey Carbery. Elsewhere, Ulster full-back Michael Lowry has overcome a facial injury to be included, while there is a recall for Leinster’s Jordan Larmour but centre Stuart McCloskey has been overlooked.

With the All Blacks having named their squad on Monday, the Irish are touring for the first time under head coach Farrell after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of a 2020 trip to Australia and last year’s proposed visit to Fiji. The trip will be another crucial stepping stone towards next year’s World Cup in France where Ireland could potentially meet New Zealand in the quarter-finals for the second successive tournament, having suffered a 46-14 loss in Japan in 2019.

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“This is the start of our Rugby World Cup campaign and it is going to be a fantastic challenge for our group facing five massive tests across the three weeks,” Farrell told the Irish Rugby Football Union website. “Touring plays a massive role in teams gelling together and building cohesion on and off the field. We will learn so much about the players and the group as a whole as we have to front up for five incredibly tough fixtures, far from the comforts of home and in grounds where the home support will greatly outnumber travelling Irish fans.”

Ireland have never beaten their upcoming opponents on New Zealand soil but have won three of the past five meetings between the countries, including last autumn’s 29-20 success in Dublin.

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IRELAND (tour squad to New Zealand):
Forwards: R Baird (Leinster), F Bealham (Connacht), T Beirne (Munster), J Conan (Leinster), G Coombes (Munster), C Doris (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), C Healy (Leinster), D Heffernan (Connacht), I Henderson (Ulster), R Herring (Ulster), J Loughman (Munster), J McCarthy (Leinster), P O’Mahony (Munster), T O’Toole (Ulster), A Porter (Leinster), C Prendergast (Connacht), J Ryan (Leinster), D Sheehan (Leinster), N Timoney (Ulster), K Treadwell (Ulster), J van der Flier (Leinster).

Backs: B Aki (Connacht), H Byrne (Leinster), J Carbery (Munster), C Casey (Munster), K Earls (Munster), C Frawley (Leinster), J Gibson Park (Leinster), M Hansen (Connacht), R Henshaw (Leinster), J Hume (Ulster), H Keenan (Leinster), J Larmour (Leinster), J Lowe (Leinster), M Lowry (Ulster), C Murray (Munster), J O’Brien (Leinster), G Ringrose (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster, capt).

Tour fixtures:
Maori All Blacks v Ireland; June 29, 0805BST – FMG Stadium, Hamilton
New Zealand v Ireland; Saturday, July 2, 0805BST – Eden Park, Auckland
New Zealand v Ireland; Saturday, July 9, 0805BST – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Maori All Blacks v Ireland; July 12, 0805BST – Sky Stadium, Wellington
New Zealand v Ireland; Saturday, July 16, 0805BST – Sky Stadium, Wellington

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Shaylen 14 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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