Kidney includes four uncapped players
Rugby:Ireland coach Declan Kidney has announced a 31 man Ireland squad that includes four uncapped players in Luke Marshall (Ulster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster) and Iain Henderson (Ulster) for the 2012 Guinness Series games against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina.
Marshall has acquitted himself capably in the centre for Ulster this season, while the versatile secondrow cum flanker Henderson, one of Ireland’s outstanding players in the Junior World Cup last summer in South Africa, has been very impressive in deputising for the injured Stephen Ferris in Heineken Cup matches.
The 23 year old Garryowen and Munster loosehead prop Kilcoyne has merited coach Rob Penney’s decision to hand him a starting role for the province. Strauss, consistently brilliant for Leinster, is now eligible to play for Ireland based on his residency for the past three years.
There is no place for Rob Kearney who will undergo surgery on a back complaint. It will keep him sidelined for eight to 10 weeks. Kidney admitted: "Rob’s having surgery tomorrow so that will take him out for eight to 10 weeks, so we wish him a speedy recovery.”
“We just learned yesterday that he was going to have the surgery. The medics will always do everything they can to avoid interventions to the body so they’ll look at all other avenues of care first. They’ve been trying but with little success, so it was decided yesterday that
we must cut our cloth here.”
There are only two scrumhalves named in Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan so there is no place for Paul Marshall (Ulster), Isaac Boss (Leinster) or Tomas O’Leary (London Irish). It’s the same scenario at outhalf but Ian Madigan (Leinster), Ian Keatley (Munster) and Paddy Jackson (Ulster) may figure for the game against Fiji in Thomond Park.
In addition to the naming of the Ireland squad for the 2012 Guinness Series, there were also changes announced to the makeup of the national coaching staff with current Munster assistant coach and former international Anthony Foley joining the Ireland coaching team.
Foley will be now be leading the defence plans and systems allowing assistant coach Les Kiss to lead the attack shape for the team as well as continue to coach the backline. Foley will remain working with Munster outside of the international window.
It was also confirmed that Leinster scrum coach, Greg Feek will continue providing his expertise to the Ireland team during competition time.Commenting on the Guinness Series games and the addition of Anthony Foley, Ireland Coach Declan Kidney said: “We have three incredibly competitive games ahead of us in November and while there have been quite a few injuries and niggles in the early part of the season, it has opened up opportunities for other players to step into the squad.
“There are world ranking points on offer, so the underlying challenge for us is to work towards retaining and improving our ranking position ahead of the Rugby World Cup pool draw. While that is the end goal, our focus will be getting our preparations right to match the intensity of international games.
“I’m pleased that Anthony has taken up the offer of working with the squad to assist during this vital period in November. His previous experience of working with the team during the last RBS Six Nations championship was important, but his own abilities and experience were central to bringing him onboard.
"I would like to thank Rob Penney and Joe Schmidt for being so positive and giving Anthony (Foley) and Greg (Feek) the scope to be part of the plans that we have.”
Anthony Foley admitted: “I was delighted when Declan approached Rob and me about the possibility of working with the Ireland team again. I enjoyed the opportunity I got during the Six Nations working with the players and I felt once we were all comfortable with the balance between Munster and Ireland, I jumped at the chance. I certainly feel I can contribute positively and when you get the chance to coach with your country, you don’t want to pass it up.”
Ireland Squad (club/province/international caps):Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster/62), Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster/49), DarrenCave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster/3), Tom Court (Malone/Ulster/29), Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster/69), Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster/32) Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster/35), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster/33), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster/50), Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster),* Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster/2), David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster),* Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster),* John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht/3), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster/12), Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht/4), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster/14), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster/5), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster/88), Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster/85), Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster/captain, 120), Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster/124), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster/7), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster/45), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster/22), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster/21), Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster/32), Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster),* Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster/48), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster/5), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster/1). NB *denotes uncapped player