John_s_version_1The Ireland touring squad for South Africa was announced to general indifference earlier this week, most of Ireland more interested in Connacht’s progress to the PRO12 Final. 

Having taken time now to read and review the squad I still find it difficult to get myself overly excited about this one which is really more of the same from Joe Schmidt. 

Ireland in South Africa

(Ulster fleg which toured South Africa in 2009!)

As with the Under 20’s, its a Leinster Rich side, the boys from HQ accounting for 41% of the squad, Munster being the losers on this occasion with a paltry 15%. 

The biggest surprise to me is that the leading try scorers in the PRO12, Craig Gilroy and Matt Healy, don’t make the trip and I can’t think of another country that would so blatantly disregard form players, offering them no meaningful opportunity to develop at international level. We are not going to learn any thing new about Fitzgerald, Dave Kearny, Earls or Trimble on this trip and we certainly don’t have a pack to slug it out with the South Africans so leaving behind the two form fliers is myopic at best.

The only non-capped players are project players Quinn Roux and Sean Reidy, both who have good seasons at their provinces. However, barring injury to others, I can’t see Schmidt using them for more than twenty minutes over the three games as we all know they are making the trip to get that one minute on the pitch that ties them to Ireland. 

The only player genuinely being developed on this trip is Stuart Olding who I suspect is being groomed to be the “new” Ian Madigan, covering out-half, centre and fullback. Cue years of frustration for the Ulster youngster! 

So disappointing, I suspect it will be a 3 – 0 series win for the South Africans. 

Squad

Forwards (18) Backs (14)
 Finlay Bealham Keith Earls 
 Rory Best Luke Fitzgerald
 Sean Cronin Robbie Henderson
 Ultan Dillane Paddy Jackson
 Tadhg Furlong Dave Kearney
 Jamie Heaslip Rob Kearney
 Iain Henderson Kieran Marmion
 Dave Kilcoyne Luke Marshall
 Jack McGrath Conor Murray
 Jordi Murphy Stuart Olding
 Sean Reidy* Jared Payne
 Mike Ross Eoin Reddan
 Rhys Ruddock Jonathan Sexton
Quinn Roux* Andrew Trimble
 Donnacha Ryan  
 CJ Stander  
 Richard Strauss  
 Devin Toner  * Denotes uncapped player. 

Fixtures

Date Time Home   Away Venue
Sat 11 June 16:00 South Africa v Ireland Newlands Stadium
Sat 18 June 16:00 South Africa v Ireland Emirates Airline Park
Sat 25 June 16:00 South Africa v Ireland Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

#SUFTUM