A 31-man Ireland squad, including four uncapped players, has been named by Ireland head coach Declan Kidney for the upcoming GUINNESS Series games against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina. Centre Luke Marshall and forward Iain Henderson named in the panel and who were involved in the Ireland training camp in September are included in the squad as are prop David Kilcoyne and hooker Richardt Strauss, who is now eligible to play for Ireland based on his residency for the past three years.
In addition to the naming of the Ireland squad for the 2012 Guinness Series, there were also changes announced to the makeup of the national coaching staff with current Munster Assistant Coach and former international Anthony Foley joining the Ireland coaching team.
Foley will be now be leading the defence plans and systems allowing Assistant Coach Les Kiss to lead the attack shape for the team as well as continue to coach the backline. Foley will remain working with Munster Rugby outside of the international window. It was also confirmed that Leinster scrum coach, Greg Feek will continue providing his expertise to the Ireland team during competition time.
Commenting on the Guinness Series games and the addition of Anthony Foley, Ireland Coach Declan Kidney said: “We have three incredibly competitive games ahead of us in November and while there have been quite a few injuries and niggles in the early part of the season, it has opened up opportunities for other players to step into the squad.
“There are world ranking points on offer, so the underlying challenge for us is to work towards retaining and improving our ranking position ahead of the Rugby World Cup pool draw. While that is the end goal, our focus will be getting our preparations right to match the intensity of international games.
“I’m pleased that Anthony has taken up the offer of working with the squad to assist during this vital period in November. His previous experience of working with the team during the last RBS 6 Nations championship was important, but his own abilities and experience were central to bringing him onboard. I would like to thank Rob Penney and Joe Schmidt for being so positive and giving Anthony Foley and Greg (Feek) the scope to be part of the plans that we have.”
Anthony Foley said: “I was delighted when Declan approached Rob and me about the possibility of working with the Ireland team again. I enjoyed the opportunity I got during the Six Nations working with the players and I felt once we were all comfortable with the balance between Munster and Ireland, I jumped at the chance. I certainly feel I can contribute positively and when you get the chance to coach with your country, you don’t want to pass it up.
Ticket sales have reached over 46,000 for the South Africa game.
While the Argentina game is a full month away, ticket sales are at just over 37,000 tickets and are selling quickly and have already surpassed the attendance the last time Argentina visited the Aviva.
Irish Rugby Squad (Guinness Series 2012)
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster/62)
Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster/49)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster/3)
Tom Court (Malone/Ulster/29)
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster/69)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster/32)
Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster/35)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster/33)
Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster/50)
Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster)*
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster/2)
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)*
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)*
John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht/3)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster/12)
Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht/4)
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster/14)
Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster/5)
Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster/88)
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster/85)
Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster/120) Captain
Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster/124
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster/7)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster/45)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster/22)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster/21)
Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster/32)
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)*
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster/48)
Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster/5)
Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster/1)
N.B. *denotes uncapped player