Ireland name eight uncapped players in exciting summer squad
The future will be on display this summer.
Ireland will play the United States in New Jersey on June 10 before embarking on a two-Test tour to Japan and Joe Schmidt named his squad Tuesday morning.
With 11 of his best on Lions duty the New Zealander has named no fewer than eight uncapped players for the three-Test series. They are John Cooney, Dave Heffernan, Rory O'Loughlin, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Rory Scannell, Jacob Stockdale and Kieran Treadwell.
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"With eleven players due to tour with the British and Irish Lions, plus a number of injuries to experienced internationals, the summer tour squad includes plenty of youth," said Schmidt.
"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.”
"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.”
The fortnight in Japan should be great preparation for Schmidt's squad as they look, long-term, to the 2019 World Cup. They were drawn in Pool A with the Brave Blossoms, as well as Scotland and two qualifiers.
Ireland lock Mike McCarthy toured Japan with Newcastle Falcons in 2006 and told The Hard Yards rugby podcast about the testing playing conditions. He said:
"The big thing I remember about the two games I played was the humidity and how it absolutely zaps you. It's great that the Ireland lads are going there this summer so they'll get an idea of what it is like to play there."
Former Ireland scrum-half Isaac Boss also told the touring squad to enjoy the experience of storing luggage in on-street canisters and sleeping in pod hotels.
One suspects Schmidt and his logistics staff will have comfier beds in mind for the Irish players, capped and uncapped.With Jamie Heaslip not travelling due to injury, there is an opportunity for a new, as yet unnamed captain, to answer the call.