New Ireland coach Declan Kidney has named Brian O'Driscoll as captain in a larger than expected 41-man squad for the autumn internationals against Canada, New Zealand and Argentina.
O’Driscoll, who has captained his country on 40 occasions, will be part of a reduced squad of around 30 which will be chosen at the end of a week-long training camp in Limerick.
That party will then be used to pick 22-man matchday squads for the clash against Canada on November 8 at Thomond Park and the Croke Park meetings with the All Blacks (November 15) and the Pumas (November 22).
Kidney said: “I am delighted that Brian has agreed to captain the squad for the Guinness Series 2008.
“I have also opted to name a bigger squad than originally anticipated so that we can continue to familiarise a largely new-look backroom staff with a wider group of players.
“Our games assume additional importance this year considering their significance as regards our seeding position going into the World Cup 2011 draw being made in December.
“We are currently ranked eighth - just ahead of Scotland - so the fact that it is paramount to at least maintain a top-eight ranking underlines the additional importance of our results against Canada, New Zealand and Argentina.”
Ireland squad for autumn internationals against Canada on November 8, New Zealand on November 15 and Argentina on November 22:
Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Ian Dowling (Munster), Girvan Dempsey (Leinster), Gavin Duffy (Connacht), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Shane Horgan (Leinster), Robert Kearney (Leinster), Geordan Murphy (Leicester), Barry Murphy (Munster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster, captain), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Tomas O'Leary (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Wasps), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Peter Stringer (Munster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Paddy Wallace (Ulster).
Rory Best (Ulster), Tony Buckley (Munster), Ryan Caldwell (Ulster), Bob Casey (London Irish), Tom Court (Ulster), Stephen Ferris (Ulster), Jerry Flannery (Munster), John Hayes (Munster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Marcus Horan (Munster), Bernard Jackman (Leinster), Shane Jennings (Leinster), Denis Leamy (Munster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Malcolm O'Kelly (Leinster), Mick O'Driscoll (Munster), Alan Quinlan (Munster), Michael Ross (Harlequins), Donncha Ryan (Munster), David Wallace (Munster), Roger Wilson (Northampton).