Sexton excused as 11 uncapped players in Ireland squad

Harry Byrne, Carbery and Burns are the three outhalves selected for summer series

As expected, Irish captain Johnny Sexton has been excused from this summer's two tests at home to Japan and the USA in a 37-man Irish squad named by Andy Farrell which features 11 uncapped players.

Farrell and Mike Catt have long since admired Harry Byrne and his inclusion, along with the return of Joey Carbery means not only will Sexton have to wait until the November window to play his 100th test for Ireland, but there is also no place for Byrne's older brother Ross. Billy Burns is the third outhalf in the squad.

James Ryan will captain the squad during summer series and in addition to the younger Byrne brother, the other 10 uncapped players are Robert Baloucoune, Tom O'Toole, Nick Timoney (all Ulster), Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Paul Boyle (Connacht), Peter Dooley, Ross Molony (Leinster), Gavin Coombes and Fineen Wycherley (Munster).

As well as the eight players chosen for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, namely Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw, Conor Murray and the injured Andrew Porter, CJ Stander has retired, Quinn Roux has ended his time at Connacht, James Lowe, Rhys Ruddock and Will Connors are injured.

Ala Sexton, Keith Earls and Cian Healy have also been rested.

The match against Japan on Saturday July 3rd will kick off at 1pm and the fixture against the USA on Saturday July 10th will kick off at 7.15pm. Both fixtures are part of the government’s outdoor pilot sport event programme which will see limited supporters back in the Aviva Stadium.

“We now have two games at home to focus on which will be a good challenge for the group,” said Farrell. “Japan played the Sunwolves at the weekend and will play the Lions the week before we play at the Aviva Stadium and we know the quality of their squad from the World Cup. We will assemble as a squad on the 22nd June and begin our preparations for the two games.

“I know the players will come in eager to make the most of this opportunity to pull on the green jersey and play in front of supporters for at the Aviva Stadium for the first time in 18 months.

“Johnny (Sexton), Cian (Healy) and Keith (Earls) will not be involved in this window as we grow the experience of other players. It will be a great opportunity to see can this group perform at this level.”

Both games will be broadcast live by RTÉ and Channel 4.

Ireland squad

Backs (17)
Will Addison (Ulster, 4 caps)
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster, uncapped)
Caolin Blade (Connacht, uncapped)
Billy Burns (Ulster, 6)
Harry Byrne (Leinster, uncapped)
Joey Carbery (Munster, 22)
Craig Casey (Munster, 1)
Andrew Conway (Munster, 24)
Shane Daly (Munster, 1)
Tom Daly (Connacht, uncapped)
Chris Farrell (Munster, 14)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster, 9)
Hugo Keenan (Leinster, 11)
Jordan Larmour (Leinster, 29)
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster, 4)
Garry Ringrose (Leinster, 34)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster, 34)

Forwards (20)
Ryan Baird (Leinster, 3)
Finlay Bealham (Connacht, 14)
Paul Boyle (Connacht, uncapped)
Ed Byrne (Leinster, 4)
Gavin Coombes (Munster, uncapped)
Ultan Dillane (Connacht, 18)
Peter Dooley (Leinster, uncapped)
Caelan Doris (Leinster, 7)
Dave Heffernan (Connacht, 5)
Rob Herring (Ulster, 21)
Rónan Kelleher (Leinster, 11)
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster, 43)
Ross Molony (Leinster, uncapped)
Peter O'Mahony (Munster, 75 )
Tom O'Toole (Ulster, uncapped)
James Ryan (Leinster, 35) (capt)
John Ryan (Munster, 23)
Nick Timoney (Ulster, uncapped)
Josh van der Flier (Leinster, 31)
Fineen Wycherley (Munster, uncapped)

Fixtures

Saturday, July 3rd: v Japan, Aviva Stadium, 1.0
Saturday, July 10th: v USA, Aviva Stadium, 7.15pm

Matches to be shown live on RTÉ & Channel 4

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times

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