Gerry Thornley: Summer Tests a rare opportunity to blood talent with eye on World Cup

Farrell will learn plenty about revamped Ireland squad in absence of Lions contingent

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell (right) and forwards coach Paul O’Connell will cast their eyes over 11 uncapped players. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell (right) and forwards coach Paul O’Connell will cast their eyes over 11 uncapped players. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

The importance of salvaging two Tests this summer from the wreckage of the pandemic is simply underlined by the 37-man squad named yesterday. Home games against Japan and the USA might not seem like much but halfway through the latest World Cup cycle they are like gold dust.

Ireland are not unique in missing out on successive summer tours – in their case to Australia and Fiji – but that only makes these games more invaluable.

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