Ireland recall Simon Zebo for Autumn Nations Series

Date published: October 20 2021 - News Desk

Ireland have included Munster wing Simon Zebo in their 38-man squad for the Autumn Nations Series fixtures against Japan, New Zealand and Argentina.

Andy Farrell’s side face Japan on Saturday, November 6 before the All Blacks a week later on November 13 and round things off against the Pumas on November 21.

Johnny Sexton, who has been capped 99 times for his country, will skipper the squad during this international window, with all the matches at the Aviva Stadium.

Lions tourists involved

Six of Ireland’s players who toured with the British and Irish Lions during the summer – Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Conor Murray – are included as is Ronan Kelleher who joined the squad in South Africa.

Six of the players who won their first caps during the Tests in July have also been named in the squad – Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne, Gavin Coombes, James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney.

There are two uncapped players in Leinster duo Dan Sheehan and Ciaran Frawley while Munster’s Zebo is named in an Ireland squad for the first time since June 2017.

Robbie Henshaw will continue his rehabilitation programme under the supervision of the Ireland medical team.

“It has been a short lead in to this international window but that is the challenge, to get back up to speed quickly and build on the performances from the Six Nations and the Summer Tests,” said Farrell. “This is the start of an exciting period for the group as we begin to build towards the Rugby World Cup in France.

“In September we got together and mapped out what was coming up in this window, the exciting fixtures that lay ahead in the next 12 months and beyond that the opportunities to improve as a group over the next five windows we will have together.

“In a few weeks’ time we will face an exciting and well coached Japan team who showed in July what a dangerous team they are. New Zealand dominated the Rugby Championship losing just one game while Argentina are battle hardened from playing the southern hemisphere’s Big 3 week in week out over the past two months.

“It would be fantastic to play in front of a full-house at the Aviva Stadium. We had small crowds back in for the games in July and even that made a huge difference to the team and the atmosphere in the stadium.”

Ireland squad for Autumn Nations Series

Backs: Bundee Aki, Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne, Joey Carbery, Craig Casey, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Ciaran Frawley, Jamison Gibson-Park, James Hume, Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton (c), Simon Zebo

Forwards: Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Gavin Coombes, Ultan Dillane, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Peter O’Mahony, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Nick Timoney, Josh van der Flier