Johnny Sexton returns along with six players who toured with the British and Irish Lions – Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Conor Murray; Uncapped Leinster duo Dan Sheehan and Ciaran Frawley also named by head coach Andy Farrell
Last Updated: 20/10/21 6:49pm
Ireland have recalled Simon Zebo after a four-year absence in their 38-man squad for the Autumn Nations Series.
Zebo, 31, left Racing 92 in the summer to rejoin Munster and is immediately recalled having been left out of the summer internationals while he competed in the Top 14 play-offs.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton is also included by head coach Andy Farrell after the fly-half missed the wins over Japan and USA in July and is in line to win his 100th cap against Japan at the Aviva Stadium on November 6.
Six of the country’s British and Irish Lions for the tour of South Africa – Tadhg Beirne, Tadhg Furlong, Jack Conan, Iain Henderson, Conor Murray and Bundee Aki – also return to the squad.
Robbie Henshaw is recovering from a foot injury and is not named in the squad but will continue his rehabilitation under the supervision of the Irish medical team.
Uncapped Leinster duo Dan Sheehan and Ciaran Frawley are also named by Farrell for the home matches against Japan, New Zealand (November 13) and Argentina (November 21).
Six of the players who won their first caps in the summer internationals – Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne, Gavin Coombes, James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney – are retained.
“This is the start of an exciting period for the group as we begin to build towards the Rugby World Cup in France”
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell
Munster’s Thomas Ahern and Jamie Osborne of Leinster will train with the squad as development players.
Farrell, whose side finished third in this year’s Six Nations, said: “It has been a short lead into this international window but that is the challenge, to get back up to speed quickly and build on the performances from the Six Nations and the summer Tests.
“This is the start of an exciting period for the group as we begin to build towards the Rugby World Cup in France.
“In September we got together and mapped out what was coming up in this window, the exciting fixtures that lay ahead in the next 12 months and beyond that the opportunities to improve as a group over the next five windows we will have together.”
Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series squad
Forwards: Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Gavin Coombes, Ultan Dillane, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Peter O’Mahony, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Nick Timoney, Josh van der Flier
Backs: Bundee Aki, Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne, Joey Carbery, Craig Casey, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Ciaran Frawley, Jamison Gibson Park, James Hume, Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Simon Zebo