Our 33-man Emerging Ireland squad for their mini-tour in South Africa 1 month ago

Our 33-man Emerging Ireland squad for their mini-tour in South Africa

It has been seven years since an 'Emerging Ireland' XV took to the field.

Andy Farrell was one of the driving forces behind the five-game tour to New Zealand, this summer. Buoyed by the success of that tour, he is set to revive Emerging Ireland.

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Ireland 'A' or their Wolfhounds version have not played in over a decade, but Emerging Ireland was a way of national coaches getting to look at up-and-coming and fringe players play against some half decent opposition. Emerging Ireland teams took part in the 2013 and 2015 Tbilisi Cup tournaments, and featured players such as Andrew Conway, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath and John Cooney.

With the lack of any provincial 'A' competition since the British & Irish Cup hit the skids, there was a plan considered to pit Irish sides against South African club sides like Cheetahs and Griquas. It has now been reported, in The Sunday Independent, that a combined Emerging Ireland team will take place in South Africa at the end of September.

Emerging Ireland Ireland head coach Andy Farrell speaks with Robert Baloucoune, in November 2021. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)
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Andy Farrell to lead Emerging Ireland

It has been reported that Andy Farrell will bring a squad of at least 30 Irish players to South Africa for a three-game trip spread over 10 days. The opposition will be the Griquas, Pumas and Cheetahs [a former PRO14 side].

The players are set to assemble in Dublin on September 23 before flying to Bloemfontein for the mini-tour. Players selected to represent Emerging Ireland would not be available for United Rugby Championship duty, with their provinces, but the longer term picture is the 2023 World Cup.

Farrell wants to have 45 players that are well aware of how he expects his Ireland side to play. His World Cup squad will be 33 players, but Farrell will ant to know there are another 12 to 15 players that could come in, at any stage, and hit the ground running.

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There may be some bartering down with the various Irish provinces, with coaches from each one making cases for players to remain with them for URC matches. However, with players like Johnny Sexton, Bundee Aki, Peter O'Mahony, Rob Herring, Conor Murray, Robbie Henshaw and more staying at home, there will be experienced players around to cover those that get the call to head to South Africa.

There has been no official confirmation of the tour from the IRFU, yet. We have looked at the players assembled for the New Zealand tour, the ones that started the Maori All Blacks games, and the most likely fringe prospects outside of that.

Emerging Ireland Alex Soroka, wearing a Ukranian flag, with Leinster teammate Thomas Clarkson. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)
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Below is our possible touring squad. We have selected 33 players, the number Farrell would like, but the Ireland boss may have to settle for closer to 30.

POSSIBLE EMERGING IRELAND SQUAD

Backs (13)
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster)
Harry Byrne (Leinster)
Patrick Campbell (Munster)
Craig Casey (Munster)
Nathan Doak (Ulster)
Ciaran Frawley (Leinster)
Mike Haley (Munster)
James Hume (Ulster)
Michael Lowry (Ulster)
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster)
Ethan McIlroy (Ulster)
Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster)
Tommy O'Brien (Leinster)

Forwards (20)

Thomas Ahern (Munster)
Ryan Baird (Leinster)
Scott Buckley (Munster)
Tom Clarkson (Leinster)
Gavin Coombes (Munster)
Dave Heffernan (Connacht)
Alex Kendellen (Munster)
Jeremy Loughman (Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Leinster)
Marty Moore (Ulster)
Jack O'Donoghue (Munster)
Tom O’Toole (Ulster)
Cian Prendergast (Connacht)
Alex Soroka (Leinster)
Niall Scannell (Munster)
Gavin Thornbury (Connacht)
Nick Timoney (Ulster)
Kieran Treadwell (Ulster)
Fineen Wycherley (Munster)
Josh Wycherley (Munster)


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