Ian Keatley rewarded with place in Ireland squad

Connacht fullback Darragh Leader one of five uncapped players for autumn internationals

Ian Keatley has been rewarded with a place in Joe Schmidt’s 37-man squad for the autumn internationals with Ulster’s Paddy Jackson missing out on selection.

The 27-year-old Dubliner was instrumental in Munster’s dramatic victory away to Sale in the opening round of the European Champions Cup, hitting the winning drop goal with the last kick of the game.

Keatley is named alongside Johnny Sexton, with Ian Madigan also an option at outhalf.

Connacht fullback Darragh Leader is the springer in Schmidt’s squad for the games against South Africa, Georgia and Australia at the Aviva Stadium.


Ulster's New Zealand -born centre Jared Payne gets his first call-up to an Ireland squad after becoming eligible as Schmidt looks to unearth Ireland's new No 13 following the retirement of Brian O'Driscoll.

Connacht's New Zealand-born tighthead prop Nathan White is also called up for the first time, while Munster lock Dave Foley and Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan are both rewarded for fine starts to the season for their provinces.

Paul O’Connell will captain the side for the games.

Leader has started all of Connacht’s games this season, with Robbie Henshaw now full-time at outside centre as part of Schmidt’s succession planning. Payne has also started in the No 13 shirt in his four starts for Ulster, with Darren Cave shifted aside at both provincial and international level after failing to make the squad .

White, 31, has edged Rodney Ah You out of the No 3 jersey at Connacht this season, but both are named amongst the 21 forwards. The return of the Leinster duo of Seán Cronin and Richardt Strauss sees Ulster’s South African-born hooker Rob Herring missing out after making his debut in Argentina on the summer tour.

A total of 15 players are listed as unavailable through injury, with the Ulster duo of Andrew Trimble and Luke Marshall the latest to be added.

IRELAND (Squad for autumn internationals, number of caps after club; *denotes uncapped player): Forwards (21): Stephen Archer (Munster) 2, Rodney Ah You (Connacht) 1, Rory Best (Ulster) 77, James Cronin (Munster) 1, Seán Cronin (Leinster) 35, Robbie Diack (Ulster) 1, Dave Foley (Munster)*,Chris Henry (Ulster) 16, Jamie Heaslip (Leinster) 67, Dave Kilcoyne (Munster) 10, Mike McCarthy (Leinster) 15, Jack McGrath (Leinster) 10, Paul O'Connell (Munster) 94 captain, Tommy O'Donnell (Munster) 4, Peter O'Mahony (Munster) 23, Mike Ross (Leinster) 41, Rhys Ruddock (Leinster) 3, Dominic Ryan (Leinster)*, Richardt Strauss (Leinster) 4, Devin Toner (Leinster) 17, Nathan White (Connacht) *.

Backs (16): Tommy Bowe (Ulster) 54, Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster) 79, Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 5, Robbie Henshaw (Connacht) 3, Felix Jones (Munster) 6, Rob Kearney (Leinster) 55, Ian Keatley (Munster) 2, Darragh Leader (Connacht)*, Ian Madigan (Leinster) 10, Kieran Marmion (Connacht) 2, Conor Murray (Munster) 28, Stuart Olding (Ulster) 1, Jared Payne (Ulster)*, Eoin Reddan (Leinster) 55, Johnny Sexton (Racing Metro) 45, Simon Zebo (Munster) 8.

Players unavailable for selection due to injury include: Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald (returning from long term injury), Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Dave Kearney, Luke Marshall, Fergus McFadden, Martin Moore, Jordi Murphy, Seán O'Brien, Donnacha Ryan, Mike Sherry, Dan Tuohy, Andrew Trimble and Damien Varley.

FIXTURES (all at Aviva Stadium)
Ireland v South Africa, Saturday November 8th, 17:30
Ireland v Georgia, Sunday November 16th, 14:30
Ireland v Australia, Saturday November 22nd, 16:30