I would guess any Irish Qualified Ulster players left in the province come the end of the month will be hobbling round on a stick pretending they are injured so deep have the Ireland selectors plunged into the squads to make up these two touring sides.
There’s also the matter of the 2013 Junior World Championship and, with seven Ulster players on that one, if your fit and healthy and not touring, you’ll have to consider that you are fairly far down the rankings in Ireland!
As we were informed on Friday, Craig Gilroy is being rested for the summer and Ulster look to have everyone involved who should be with the exception of Callum Black, who can count himself unlucky to be left out, given his impressive performances against the other Irish contenders.
Robbie Diack’s inclusion in the Emerging Ireland is a bit of a mystery given his performances in the latter half of the season. Given the the paucity of back row options in the North American Tour you have to wonder what the selectors base their choices on, but I suppose it’s a bit early to be having a go at the new management team, and Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock can also feel a bit aggrieved on missing out on the main trip.
It is good, however, to see Heaney and Herring involved and they are probably being pitched at the right level, though Herring’s involvement does have me wondering what has happened to Niall Annett this season – I was expecting big things from him but hopefully he will kick on next season.
On a personal point of view I’m disappointed to see Olding in the main Ireland squad as I was hoping he would be allowed to become one of the stars of the U20 JWC. He’ll probably get a fair bit of game time on the North American Tour but I hope we’re not sitting around grumbling about another season wrecked by injuries this time next year!
The Provincial make up of the squads is as follows:
The North American squad will be captained by Ulster hooker Rory Best, a role he also fulfilled in the 2009 Summer Tour.
A 26 man squad for the Georgia Tour has also been announced and will be captained by Leinster back row Rhys Ruddock.
Announcing the squads acting Head Coach Les Kiss said:
“Both tours are hugely important in the context of providing valuable game exposure, building depth and gaining experience in the Irish jersey.
For the North America tour we have selected a squad who I believe have the right mix of youth and experience and I’m really looking forward to working with them over the next few weeks. USA and Canada have improved enormously since the 2011 RWC and we know we will be in for two tough test matches.
The Georgian Tour will be a great experience for the players, most of who have recently come through the Ireland underage system. It will be a tough tour with three games in 14 days and a smaller squad of 26 players, which should mean everyone getting significant game time.”
Ireland Squad (North American Tour – USA & Canada)
Rory Best (Ulster), Isaac Boss (Leinster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Tom Court (Ulster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Jamie Hagan (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Felix Jones (Munster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Paul Marshall (Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Connacht), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), Tommy O’Donnell (Munster), Stuart Olding (Ulster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Mike Sherry (Munster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster)
Emerging Ireland Squad (Tbilisi Cup, Georgia)
Michael Allen (Ulster), Michael Bent (Leinster), Andrew Conway (Leinster), John Cooney (Leinster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), David Foley (Munster), Eoin Griffin (Connacht), Cathal Marsh (Leinster), Michael Heaney (Ulster), Robert Herring (Ulster), David Kearney (Leinster), Ian Keatley (Munster), Richard Lutton (Ulster), Brendan Macken (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Eoin McKeon (Connacht), Martin Moore (Leinster), Niall Morris (Exiles), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Ian Nagle (Munster), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Tiernan O’Halloran (Connacht), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Dominic Ryan (Leinster), John Ryan (Munster), Lewis Stevenson (Ulster)
A number of players were not considered due to injury including;
Stephen Ferris, Eoin Reddan, Luke Fitzgerald, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Marshall, David McSharry, Keith Earls, Stephen Archer.
|07-Jun-13||14:00||Uruguay||v||South Africa President’s XV|
|11-Jun-13||14:00||Emerging Ireland||v||South Africa President’s XV|
|16-Jun-13||16:00||Georgia||v||South Africa President’s XV|