A team from Ireland’s emerging 35-man squad has been selected to travel to South Africa in late September.
The Irish development team will set up a three-day camp at the IRFU High Performance Center in Dublin before traveling to Bloemfontein to play against three Korean Cup teams – the Griquas, Pumas and Cheetahs – in the Toyota Challenge.
The squad includes four players with national teams: Robert Balcon (2 games), Kaolin Blade (1), Shane Daly (2), Max Degan (1) and three players who played against the Maori All Blacks during the summer: Ciaran Frawley, Joe McCarthy, and Sian Prendergast.
Jimmy Osborne and Tom Ahern both trained with the Irish first team as development players.
Eight players featured in the Ireland Under-20 team that won the Six Nations Grand Prix in 2019 – Tom Clarkson, Brian Denny, Jake Flannery, John Hodnett, Michael Milne, Scott Penny, Callum Reed and Dylan Tierney Martin.
Six Nations Award winners James Cohen and Chai Mullins are included in the 2022 tournament. Culhane was named Player of the Tournament Under-20 while Mullins went on to win a bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.
Andrew Smith also played for Ireland 7 last weekend in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa. The former Ireland U20 has played in seven world championships and won the Energia AIL title with Clontarf this year.
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David Nocifora, International Rugby Union Performance Director, said: “This tour of emerging Ireland is of vital strategic importance in the year of the Rugby World Cup.
“This will put some pressure on the resources of our players, but it will provide an opportunity for emerging talents to impress national coaches early in the World Cup season. As these players return to their provinces, their progress can be monitored and supported so that they remain part of the national team image.
“The three matches in Bloemfontein and the match against All Blacks 15th in Dublin provide a great opportunity for these players to gain experience in the national environment and make their way into coaches’ minds for the upcoming season.”
Andy Farrell, Ireland coach, said: “This opportunity provides another opportunity for players to develop and demonstrate their ability to thrive in an intense national environment. It will be exciting to see which players step up and frame themselves for another opportunity to impress you in November.
For some players it is a chance to build on what they have already learned in the national camp and take their development to the next level, and for others it is a first chance to show the national coaches what they do and what they can deliver.”
Ireland junior team
Robert Balcon (@Ulster/Enniskillen)
Kaolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegion)
Jack Crowley (Constitution of Monster/Cork)
Shane Daly (Constitution of Monster/Cork)
Nathan Duke (Ulster/Bannbridge)
Jake Flannery (Ulster/Shannon)
Antoine Frisch (Monster)
Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)
Michael MacDonald (Ulster)
Ethan McIlroy (Ulster/Queens RFC)
Stuart Moore (Ulster/Malon)
Chay Mullins (Connect/IQ Rugby)
Calvin Nash (Monster/Young Monster)
Jamie Osborne (Leinster/NAS)
Andrew Smith (Leinster/Clontarf)
Tom Ahern (Monster/Shannon)
Diarmuid Baron (Monster/Garywin)
Tom Clarkson (Leinster/University of Dublin)
James Cohen (Leinster/University of North Carolina)
Max Deegan (Leinster/Lansdown)
Brian Denny (Leinster/Clontarf)
John Hodnet (Monster/Union Carbide Corporation)
Sam Elo (Connacht)
Cormac Izuchokwu (Ulster/Balinahinch)
Alex Kindlin (Monster/Union Carbide Corporation)
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/University of Dublin)
Michael Milne (Leinster/UCD)
Scott Penny (Leinster/UCD)
Sian Prendergast (Connacht)
Calum Reed (Ulster/Bannbridge)
Roman Salonoa (Monster/Shannon)
Alex Soroka (Leinster/Clontarf)
Tom Stewart (Ulster/Balinahinch)
Dylan Tierney Martin (Connacht / Corinthians)
Josh Witcherley (Monster/Young Monster)
Toyota Challenge Equipment
(All at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa)
Friday 30 September 2022
Windhoek Draft Griquas vs Emerging Ireland, 12:45 (Irish time)
Wednesday 5 October 2022
Airlink Pumas vs Ireland Emerging, 16:00
Sunday 9 October 2022
Toyota Chitas vs emerging Ireland, 12:00