Ireland have announced a 42-player squad that includes four uncapped players as they step up their preparations for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Ulster hooker Tom Stewart, Munster wing Calvin Nash and Leinster backs Ciaran Frawley and Jamie Osborne have been rewarded for their showings this season.
Captain Johnny Sexton is included in the group as he looks to recover from his groin injury, with Jack Crowley, Ross Byrne and Frawley the other fly-half options.
Sexton is one of 21 Leinster stars named in the 42 while recent United Rugby Championship winners Munster boast nine, Ulster have seven and Connacht five.
Jean Kleyn misses the cut
Joey Carbery, Robert Baloucoune, Jean Kleyn, Jordan Larmour, Shane Daly, Mike Haley and Jeremy Loughman are notable absentees in the extended selection.
The chosen players are set to assemble at the IRFU High Performance Centre on Sunday, June 18 for the first block of training, Irish Rugby has announced.
Ireland will train at their Dublin base through June and July ahead of the Bank of Ireland Nations Series which will see Andy Farrell’s outfit fine-tune their preparations for the Rugby World Cup with home matches against Italy (Saturday, August 5) and England (Saturday, August 19) at Aviva Stadium and a fixture against Samoa at Stade Jean-Dauger in Bayonne (Saturday, August 26).
Commenting on the squad announcement, Farrell said: “It is exciting to announce our extended training squad for the first phase of Rugby World Cup preparations, and we’re looking forward to assembling in Dublin next month to hit the ground running as a group.
“It’s pleasing to see that selection has been as tough as ever, as real quality players have initially been unfortunate to have missed out. I’m sure that camp will be competitive enough as we grow minds and bodies and look to push on with our game from last season.
“In the meantime, it’s important that we freshen up for a busy and exciting summer ahead, so we’re ready to get to work on 18th June and build towards the Bank of Ireland Nations Series and to France beyond that.”
In addition to the three Bank of Ireland Nations Series matches, the Ireland squad will travel to Portugal for a warm-weather training camp in August, before Farrell’s final 33-player Rugby World Cup squad is announced in late August.
Ireland open their Rugby World Cup campaign against Romania in Bordeaux on September 9, before further Pool B clashes against Tonga (September 16) in Nantes, and South Africa (September 23) and Scotland (October 7) at the Stade de France in Paris.
Ireland training squad
Forwards: Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Gavin Coombes, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Joe McCarthy, Peter O’Mahony, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, Cian Prendergast, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Tom Stewart, Kieran Treadwell, Josh van der Flier
Backs: Bundee Aki, Caolin Blade, Ross Byrne, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Keith Earls, Ciaran Frawley, Jamison Gibson-Park, Mack Hansen, Robbie Henshaw, Hugo Keenan, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Calvin Nash, Jimmy O’Brien, Jamie Osborne, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale
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