Irish rugby squad for summer international fixtures in Argentina

Joe Schmidt has named the Irish squad that will travel to Argentina for this summers international rugby fixtures.

International stalwarts Rory Best, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton and Andrew Trimble all made the cut while Paul O’Connell will retain his captaincy for the tour.

The squad also contains some new faces with South African born Ulster Hooker Rob Herring set to win his first cap. Connacht scrum half Kieran Marmion, Munster Prop James Cronin and Ulster number eight Robbie Diack are also in line to make their first senior international appearances.

A major talking point is the inclusion of Munster Winger/Fullback Simon Zebo. The Cork native failed to make Schmidt’s squad in Ireland’s victorious 2014 Six Nations campaign. He was called up for the fixture against Italy but did not play a second of rugby for his country in the tournament.

Big names to be excluded include Leinster’s Sean O’Brien and Ulster’s Tommy Bowe. Joe Schmidt on Bowe and O’Brien.

It’s really just player management. There are guys who have had continuous niggly injuries that are going to be given a good amount of time in the pre-season to recover from those. Obviously Seanie has come back and played very few minutes. It was a discussion I had with both players (O”Brien and Tommy Bowe). There is a number of other players like Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Dan Tuohy. There are a bunch of guys who we would feel are better served by getting a window to fully recover. They also a number of them have accumulated a number of very brief pre-seasons by the time they go away on June tours, Lions tours and the like” said Joe Schmidt

Ian Madigan has also missed out on the trip to Argentina, Schmidt explained why he was not picked.

“We believe to only take two scrum halves would be very very difficult, so we have gone for three scrum halves. To go with six halves would have been a real tightening of numbers. The thing for Ian is he hasn’t had a lot of game time recently. I have had a really good discussion with him. He is going to come in and train with us, but he will go on the emerging tour and will give him and the likes of Ian Keatley time to get game time over there. We will still be keeping a close eye on that group. “

There are 10 players chosen from Leinster, 9 from Ulster, 8 from Munster, two from Connacht as four players look set to make their debut.

The Ireland squad will depart for the two Test tour on Sunday 1st June, the day after the Rabodirect PRO12 final.  Both Tests will be broadcast live on SKY Sports 2 with coverage starting from 7.00pm.

Argentina v IRELAND
Saturday 7th June, 2014
Estadio Centenario, Resistencia, Chaco
KO 15:40 local time (19:40 Irish time)

REF: Glen Jackson (NZ) ASSIST REFS: Mike Fraser (NZ), Jaco van Heerden (SA) TMO: Shaun Veldsman (SA)

Argentina v IRELAND
Saturday 14th June, 2014 
Estadio José Fierro, Tucumán
KO 15:40 local time (19:40 Irish time)

Forwards (16)
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 75
James Cronin (Dolphin/Munster) *
Robbie Diack (Malone/Ulster) *
Iain Henderson (Ballinahinch/Ulster) 10
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster) 14
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 65
Rob Herring (Ballinahinch/Ulster) *
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 8
Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 8
Marty Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster) 5
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 2
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) 92
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 39
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 2
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 15
Damian Varley (Garryowen/Munster) 2Backs (14)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 5
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 39
Robbie Henshaw (Buccanneers/Connacht) 3
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 9
Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster) 5
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 54
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) *
Luke Marshall (Ballinahinch/Ulster) 5
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 26
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 27
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 54
Johnny Sexton (Racing Metro) 43
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 55
Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 6


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