Monday 11 November 2019

Joe Schmidt assesses options with Barbarians squad

Jamie Heaslip to captain side as Ireland boss calls up uncapped players

Ireland's Jamie Heaslip
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

IRELAND coach Joe Schmidt has named a host of uncapped players in his squad for Thursday's game against the Barbarians at Thomond Park.

The New Zealander has included tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong, second-row Ben Marshall, back-row Jack Conan, back three player Cian Kelleher, centre Colm O'Shea, Leinster's Luke McGrath and Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey for the non-capped end of season game in Limerick.

Jamie Heaslip will captain the squad which also sees Chris Henry return after his lengthy absence as a result of the mini-stroke he suffered on Ireland duty in November.

"We knew it was an opportunity to explore options and also give guys who have come back, like Chris Henry, a run back in the squad," Les Kiss said.

"It lives up to what the Barbarians is about. Some players have been rested, some are carrying injuries. We're managing that.

"When you see what the Barbarians have brought to the player with trojans of the game like Brad Thorn and George Smith involved, we're excited.

Read more: Eoin Reddan: The Leinster players backed Matt O'Connor until the end

"I know the Barbarians will approach it that (all out attack) way, from my perspective in defence I'm sweating about it. Both sides will want to make it an entertaining affair, we won't be far removed from being strong at the basics, we'll hope to launch something exciting off that. It would be nice to see a spectacle."

Kiss said the Connacht contingent were not considered after their heartbreaking European qualifier defeat to Gloucester yesterday, but the Ulster players are fit to play after their loss to Glasgow on Friday.

"Once Connacht went to the gut-wrenching 100 minutes, we decided not to go there. That's a lot of energy," he said.

"The Ulster guys wanted to be involved, there's a keenness amongst the boys."

Ireland squad to face the Barbarians: Forwards: Michael Bent, Jack Conan, Robbie Diack, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie Heaslip (capt), Chris Henry, Rob Herring, Jack McGrath, Ben Marshall, Jordi Murphy, Mike Ross, Rhys Ruddock, Richardt Strass, Devin Toner, Dan Tuohy.

Backs: Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Dave Kearney, Cian Kelleher, Stuart McCloskey, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Luke Marshall, Colm O'Shea, Eoin Reddan, Noel Reid.

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