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Ireland lose backline star ahead of SA tour

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has revealed a 35-man squad for their upcoming tour to South Africa.

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The squad was unveiled on Tuesday with stalwart Peter O’Mahony getting the captain’s armband.

The squad is loaded with star power, but they will be heading to South Africa without one of their key backline players.

Leinster scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, forward Jack Conan was not included in the squad as his wife is due to give birth to their first child during that Test window.

Farrell has included three uncapped players in the squad, as Leinster duo Jamie Osborne and Sam Prendergast are rewarded for their performances at provincial level, while Ulster’s Cormac Izuchukwu earns his first senior call-up.

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“Travelling to South Africa to play a Test Series against the defending world champions provides no greater test for us, and it is another valuable opportunity for us to further grow and develop from the Six Nations,” said Farrell.

“The squad will come together in Dublin this week in preparation for the tour and the group understands the need to hit the ground running, ensuring we are the best version of ourselves for the challenge ahead.”

Meanwhile, O’Mahony added: “I am proud to be asked to lead Ireland in South Africa, a country which provides one of the toughest challenges in world rugby.

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“As reigning world champions, South Africa will provide the sternest of tests and we know that we will have to perform at a high level to get the results we want.

“There’s a lot of respect and familiarity between both countries in recent years at international and club levels, since they were invited to join the URC and European Cup competitions, and we know the challenge that awaits.”

Farrell’s side will go head-to-head with the Springboks in the opening Test at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday, July 6, with Kings Park in Durban hosting the second Test a week later on Saturday, July 13.

Ireland squad:

Forwards: Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Cormac Izuchukwu, Oli Jager, Ronan Kelleher, Joe McCarthy, Peter O’Mahony (captain), Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, Cian Prendergast, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Nick Timoney, Josh van der Flier.

Backs: Bundee Aki, Caolin Blade, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Ciaran Frawley, Robbie Henshaw, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Calvin Nash, Jimmy O’Brien, Jamie Osborne, Sam Prendergast, Garry Ringrose, Jacob Stockdale.

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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