Six Munster stars get Tbilisi Cup nod
Six Munster players have been called up to the Emerging Ireland squad for the Tbilisi Cup, which takes place in June - and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt thinks it's the perfect opportunity for players to showcase their talents and force their way into the national set-up.
Rory Scannell, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, JJ Hanrahan, Andrew Conway and James Cronin are all part of the 27-man panel who will travel to Georgia.
Connacht are the most well represented in the line-up with eight in total; Leinster and Ulster both have six players travelling, with Eoin Griffin from London Irish the only overseas player.
"There are some exciting prospects in this squad and the Tbilisi Cup is an ideal challenge for them, especially as both Georgia and Uruguay will be using this tournament to springboard their Rugby World Cup campaigns," said Schmidt.
Allan Clarke and Girvan Dempsey will take charge of the side who will take on Emerging Italy, Uruguay and Georgia, while Munster's strength and conditioning coach Aidan O'Connell will form part of their backroom staff.
Clarke says this competition provides the chance for young players and those who hope to get back in contention for places in the senior squad.
"This competition gives us the opportunity to develop some of the emerging talent from the four provinces with the support of some experienced players in a very challenging tournament," he said.
"It's a great opportunity to see how these players react and perform faced with the challenge of a short preparation."