Andy Farrell has announced his Irish rugby squad for the three tests in New Zealand this summer.
Farrell has named a somewhat smaller-than-expected travelling squad, with 40 players on the plane to New Zealand. There are five uncapped Irish rugby players in the squad for the tour of New Zealand. Leinster's Jimmy O'Brien, Joe McCarthy and Ciarán Frawley could all earn their first Ireland caps as well as Munster prop Jeremy Loughman and Connacht flanker Cian Prendergast.
Robert Baloucoune, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell and Rónan Kelleher all miss out through injuries.
Irish rugby squad for the tour of New Zealand
Jamison Gibson Park
Josh Van Der Flier
After decades of falling short against the All Blacks, recent games against New Zealand have weighted in favour of Ireland who have won three of the last five games against New Zealand.
The most recent Irish rugby victory against New Zealand came in last year's Autumn International Series where Andy Farrell's side won 29-20 at the Aviva stadium. Tries from Rónan Kelleher, Caelan Doris and New Zealand native James Lowe sealed a massive win for Ireland.
The Irish rugby team kick off their tour with a game against the Maori All Blacks on Wednesday the 29th of June before starting the first of the three tests against New Zealand on Saturday July 2nd. The second test will be played the following Saturday, with another game against the Maori All Blacks being scheduled for July 12th.
Ireland's third and final test match against the Kiwis will be on Saturday the 16th of July.
After losing out on the Six Nations Championship to France, this Ireland squad will be keen to continue their impressive progress since Andy Farrell's appointment and a tough tour of New Zealand will be just the preparation needed for Ireland.
Domestically, it was a season without silverware for the Irish rugby provinces with Leinster losing out to La Rochelle in the Champions Cup final and being defeated by the Bulls in the RDS arena last week during the URC semifinal.
Ulster were also knocked out of the URC semifinals after a narrow 17-15 defeat to DHL Stormers.