REVEALED - Bundee Aki among four uncapped players in Joe Schmidt's squad but Simon Zebo is axed
Munster's Simon Zebo has not been included in Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad for next month's autumn internationals after revealing earlier this week that he would be leaving the province.
Under unwritten IRFU rules, players based within the four provinces are given preference over those who ply their trade overseas and although Zebo will be at Munster until the end of the season, Schmidt has opted not to use him in the games against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina.
He is expected to join Ronan O'Gara and Donnacha Ryan at Racing 92 at the end of the season.
The Leinster pair of Joey Carbery and Rob Kearney now look like the front-runners for the number 15 jersey but Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran also misses out on selection.
Earlier today, Ireland, Leinster and Lions flanker Sean O'Brien said he believed that an exception to the exclusion rule would be made for Zebo, as it was for Johnny Sexton when he moved to Paris in 2013.
"Some like Zeebs is so talented, he has that bit of X-factor," O'Brien told RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.
"I still think he’ll definitely be called upon in my eyes.
"He has a young family now and he’s at that point where I suppose you make life decisions about what you want to do going forward.
"I can see why he’s going so it’s his decision at the end of the day.
"It’s probably a [strange] time...coming into a World Cup year but I understand fully that players have to make the best of it with the time we have as professionals."
The four uncapped players in the 38-man squad are newly-qualified Bundee Aki, Leinster winger Adam Byrne, Munster centre Chris Farrell and former Cork hurler Darren Sweetnam.
Aki has been included after qualifying through the three-year residency rule.
Leinster 56-times capped hooker Sean Cronin and Ulster's Luke Marshall are other notable absentees.
Schmidt is without injured stars Jamie Heaslip, Garry Ringrose, Josh van der Flier and Niall Scannell, while Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding’s enforced absence continues as they await trial on rape charges.
Ireland face South Africa (Nov 11), Fiji (Nov 18) and Argentina (Nov 25) at the Aviva Stadium next month.
Ireland Squad - Guinness Series 2017
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) Captain104 caps
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 4 caps
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 10 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 16 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 70 caps
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 32 caps
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 1 cap
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 20 caps
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Jack McGrath (St Mary's College/Leinster) 41 caps
Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster) 49 caps
Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12 caps
Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 40 caps
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 2 caps
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary's College/Leinster) 16 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 2 caps
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 9 caps
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 15 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 50 caps
James Tracey (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Kieran Treadwell (Ballymena/Ulster) 2 caps
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) uncapped
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster) uncapped
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 4 caps
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 3 caps
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 62 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) uncapped
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 29 caps
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 16 caps
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 76 caps
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster) 5 caps
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 16 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/UIster) 1 cap
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 57 caps
Johnny Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 66 caps
Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 2 caps
Darren Sweetnam (Cork Constitution/Munster) uncapped
2017 Guinness Series Fixtures
IRELAND v South Africa
Saturday 11th November, KO 17.30
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
IRELAND v Fiji
Saturday 18th November, KO 17.30
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
IRELAND v Argentina
Saturday 25th November, KO 17.30
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
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