New Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has named an extended 42-man training squad ahead of the November International series.
New Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named an extended 42-man training squad ahead of the November International series.
The former Leinster and Clermont tactician will take charge of the national team for the first time when Ireland face Samoa, Australia and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium.
Schmidt, who signed a three-year contract with the IRFU in April, will begin preparations for the series on Sunday when the players will assemble in Carton House for a two-day training camp before the squad will be significantly trimmed.
Leinster back-row Shane Jennings is a notable inclusion in a largely predictable panel with the experienced flanker last lining out in a green jersey two years ago having fallen out of favour with former coach Declan Kidney.
Several players including Michael Bent, Felix Jones and Ulster duo Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy weren't considered due to injury but they are expected to be involved as and when they return to full fitness.
Jonny Sexton, who recently moved to French side Racing Metro, is one of three fly-halfs named while Niall Morris is included after impressing for Leicester in the opening two Premiership games of the season.
Speaking about the squad announcement, Schmidt admitted he was faced with several selection dilemmas.
“Selection was difficult as it's the first time we have had to narrow our focus a bit and determine a cut off point for players. A number of selections were very tight which is positive,” the 42-year-old explained.
“The group is predominantly 'tried and proven' but with some newer faces as well.”
“It's an opportunity to get to know the players as well as an opportunity to have a look ahead and start to get a little bit of organization done for the Guinness Series.”
Backs: Rob Kearney (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster), Niall Morris (Leicester), Dave Kearney (Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Isaac Boss (Leinster).
Forwards: Cian Healy (Leinster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Stephen Archer (Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), SeÃ¡n Cronin (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Mike Sherry (Munster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Mike McCarthy (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), James Coughlan (Munster), Shane Jennings (Leinster), SeÃ¡n O'Brien (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster).