Ireland have named five uncapped players in their 37-man squad for the November Tests including New Zealand-born Jared Payne.
Ireland have named five uncapped players in their 37-man squad for the November internationals including New Zealand-born Ulster centre/full-back Jared Payne.
The squad, captained by Paul O’Connell, also features Connacht’s Darragh Leader and Nathan White, Munster’s Dave Foley and Leinster’s Dominic Ryan.
29-year-old Payne played for New Zealand at U21 level but gets his first call-up for Ireland after becoming eligible on the three-year residency rule.
Payne made a name for himself as a full-back/wing in Super Rugby but has played in the number 13 shirt in his four starts for Ulster this season and is an option at outside centre, along with Robbie Henshaw, as Joe Schmidt looks to fill the void left by the retirement of Brian O’Driscoll.
Munster pivot Ian Keatley has been rewarded for his strong form as Ulster’s Paddy Jackson missed out.
Connacht full-back Darragh Leader is arguably the most surprising selection but he has started all of Connacht’s games this season. He joins his club team-mate, New Zealand-born tighthead prop White, in getting his first call up.
Ireland will face South Africa, Georgia and Australia next month, starting with a clash against the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday 8th November.
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, Sean O’Brien, Donnacha Ryan, Mike Sherry, Dan Touhy, Andrew Trimble and Damien Varley.
Forwards (21): Stephen Archer, Rodney Ah You, Rory Best, James Cronin, Sean Cronin, Robbie Diack, Dave Foley, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip, Dave Kilcoyne, Mike McCarthy , Jack McGrath, Paul O’Connell (c), Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony, Mike Ross, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, Nathan White.
Backs (16): Tommy Bowe, Gordon D’Arcy, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Henshaw, Felix Jones, Rob Kearney, Ian Keatley, Darragh Leader, Ian Madigan, Kieran Marmion, Conor Murray, Stuart Olding, Jared Payne, Eoin Reddan, Johnny Sexton, Simon Zebo.