Ireland name eight uncapped players for tour of US and Japan
Last Updated: 16/05/17 10:54pm
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has named eight uncapped players in his squad to face the United States and Japan next month.
With 11 Ireland internationals touring with the British and Irish Lions, Schmidt has handed a number of younger players an opportunity to impress.
Four uncapped forwards have been selected by Schmidt - Connacht hooker Dave Heffernan, Ulster lock Kieran Treadwell and Leinster pair of Andrew Porter and James Ryan, the highly-rated 20-year-old second row who has yet to play a senior game for the province.
Munster centre Rory Scannell, who was called up to the Irish squad during this season's Six Nations but did not win a cap, was included alongside three other potential debutant backs - Connacht scrum-half John Cooney, Leinster centre Rory O'Loughlin, and Ulster full back Jacob Stockdale.
Ireland are also missing Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and Jordi Murphy through injury but can count on the experience of Keith Earls, Cian Healy and Devin Toner for the tour starting in the U.S. on June 10.
Schmidt's squad then travel to Japan for two tests on June 17 and 24. Those games will serve as a preview of the sides' 2019 World Cup meeting after Ireland and Japan were drawn in the same group last week.
There will also be a fresh look to the coaching staff with former internationals Ronan O'Gara, Girvan Dempsey and Felix Jones, who have all recently moved into coaching, joining the touring party for different parts of the trip.
"There is a real freshness to the group, including the coaching staff, so we're looking forward to what will be a very challenging summer tour," Schmidt said.
"We have retained a sprinkling of experienced players, some of whom may yet be called up to the Lions, but the focus is really on challenging the younger players to cope with the heat and foreign conditions as well as the speed and physicality of Test rugby."
Backs (14): Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Keith Earls, Paddy Jackson, Kieran Marmion, Luke Marshall, Luke McGrath, Tiernan O'Halloran, Rory O'Loughlin, Garry Ringrose, Rory Scannell, Jacob Stockdale, Simon Zebo
Forwards (17): Finlay Bealham, Jack Conan, Cian Healy, Dave Heffernan, Dave Kilcoyne, Dan Leavy, Tommy O'Donnell, Jack O'Donoghue, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Devin Toner, James Tracy, Kieran Treadwell, Josh van der Flier, Simon Zebo