Ireland Prepare to Face All Blacks

Ireland Rugby Press Conference
Port Elizabeth , South Africa - 23 June 2016; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt during the team announcement press conference at the Boardwalk Hotel, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

A 34-man Ireland squad has been named ahead of the match against New Zealand in Chicago. In the first of two matches against the World Champions, Ireland prepares to face the All Blacks in front of an excited US crowd, next Saturday on Soldier Field.

Ireland Prepare to Face All Blacks

Head coach Joe Schmidt has chosen Six Uncapped Players, in a mix of youth and experience. The side will assemble on Sunday, after important Guinness Pro 12 fixtures this weekend: Ulster v Munster (Friday) and Leinster v Connacht (Saturday)

Ireland prepare for their November fixture dates on foreign soil in 2016, in a bold exhibition of the International game in Chicago. The second time the New Zealand team have played there, it will be the first match between the two sides in the United States. An innovative move to bolster the games image in a huge rugby market.

Ireland in-fact have played four games against the US national team in the states; the first in January 1996. With a large ex-patriot presence in Chicago, Ireland may actually go in as ‘hometown favourites’. Expect an open game, with both teams looking to display their strengths and attacking capabilities.

Schmidt aims to build team culture

There are six uncapped players named among the 34-man squad – Joey Carbery, Billy Holland, Luke McGrath, Garry Ringrose, John Ryan and James Tracy.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt commented in an Irish Rugby press release: “Selections were difficult as always – trying to balance form, fitness, experience, combinations plus assess those players returning from injury or those carrying minor knocks or strains.

“With more than half the squad likely to be involved in PRO12 action this weekend, plus the need to factor in the travel and fatigue from the Chicago fixture, there are also a number of players on standby who are likely to be involved during the first two weeks of the Guinness Series.”

Full 34-man Ireland Touring Squad:

  • Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
    Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt)
    Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) *
    Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
    Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht)
    Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
    Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
    Craig Gilroy (Bangor/Ulster)
    Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
    Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (vice-capt)
    Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
    Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)                                                                        Billy Holland (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
    Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
    Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
    Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht)
    Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
    Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
    Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) *
    Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
    Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
    Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
    Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
    Jared Payne (Ulster)
    Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) *
    Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
    John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
    Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
    CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster)
    Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
    James Tracy (UCD/Leinster) *
    Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
    Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)
    Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)* Denotes uncapped player

One player unavailable is Keith Earls. The Munster player was handed a match suspension from the emotional Glasglow Warriors clash, on Saturday October 22. The Limerick man will be free to next play on Monday, November 7.

IRELAND v NEW ZEALAND

Soldier Field, Chicago. Saturday, November 5

“Main photo credit”

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