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Easterby Explains Why Some Players Missed Out On Emerging Ireland Selection

Easterby Explains Why Some Players Missed Out On Emerging Ireland Selection
Michael Bolton
By Michael Bolton
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The IRFU have announced a 35-man squad that will travel to South Africa for the Emerging Ireland tour in late September.

As part of the tour, Emerging Ireland will take on Currie Cup sides the Griquas, the Pumas and the Cheetahs. While this will see provinces losing players just as the season has started, it will give players an opportunity to impress the Ireland coaching set-up who may not have got the opportunity without this tour.

The squad has included four previously capped players in Robert Baloucoune, Shane Daly, Max Deegan and Caolin Blade. Cian Prendergast, Ciaran Frawley and Joe McCarthy all featured against the Māori All Blacks in the summer.

Despite the inexperience of the squad, there is still plenty of talking points, particularly at fly-half, where Frawley is joined by Munster’s Jack Crowley and Ulster Jake Flannery.

Frawley is viewed as a ten by the Ireland set up but plays most of his rugby with Leinster at centre. With a World Cup in a year’s time, his positioning this season will be debated through the season.

An impressive tour at fly-half from Frawley could raise further questions about Ireland's depth at 10, should anything happen to Johnny Sexton.

Further in the backline, Ulster’s Ethan McIlroy has been rewarded with a call up, while his provincial teammate Nathan Doak will hope to leave an impression at scrum half.


In the forwards, Munster’s Josh Wycherley could give Ireland some needed cover at loosehead, with the New Zealand tour exposing a lack of depth in the position.

Loosehead Josh Wycherley has been included in the Emerging Ireland squad after a fine 2021/22 season with Munster.

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Emerging Ireland Coach Simon Easterby Gives His Thoughts

Despite concerns that have been raised regarding players taken away from provinces just as the season starts, coach for the tour Simon Easterby has insisted provinces aren't being ripped apart due to the tour.

Leinster’s Scott Penny is one of eight members of the U20 Grand Slam winning side of 2019, alongside Tom Clarkson, Brian Deeney, Jake Flannery, John Hodnett, Michael Milne, Callum Reid, and Dylan Tierney-Martin.


Fresh from the Ireland 7s that played in last weekend's Rugby World Cup in South Africa, Leinster’s Andrew Smith is also included in the side.

Emerging Ireland squad to tour South Africa:

Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen)
Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians)
Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution)
Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Constitution)
Nathan Doak (Ulster/Banbridge)
Jake Flannery (Ulster/Shannon)
Antoine Frisch (Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)
Michael McDonald (Ulster)
Ethan McIlroy (Ulster/Queens RFC)
Stewart Moore (Ulster/Malone)
Chay Mullins (Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Calvin Nash (Munster/Young Munster)
Jamie Osbourne (Leinster/Naas)
Andrew Smith (Leinster/Clontarf)


Tom Ahern (Munster/Shannon)
Diarmuid Barron (Munster/Garryowen)
Tom Clarkson (Leinster/Dublin University)
James Culhane (Leinster/UCD)
Max Deegan (Leinster/Lansdowne)
Brian Deeny (Leinster/Clontarf)
John Hodnett (Munster/UCC)
Sam Illo (Connacht)
Cormac Izuchukwu (Ulster/Ballynahinch)
Alex Kendellen (Munster/UCC)
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University)
Michael Milne (Leinster/UCD)
Scott Penny (Leinster/UCD)
Cian Prendergast (Connacht)
Callum Reid (Ulster/Banbridge)
Roman Salonoa (Munster/Shannon)
Alex Soroka (Leinster/Clontarf)
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)
Dylan Tierney-Martin (Connacht/Corinthians)
Josh Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster)

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