Schmidt names four uncapped players for Argentina tour
20 May 2014 10:21
Joe Schmidt has rested Cian Healy, Gordon D'Arcy, Tommy Bowe and Sean O'Brien
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has named four uncapped players in his 30-man squad for the RBS 6 Nations champions' summer tour to Argentina.
Scrum-half Kieran Marmion, who hasn't missed a league game for Connacht since making his debut at the start of last season, Munster prop James Cronin and Ulster duo Robbie Diack and James Herring are the new faces.
Schmidt has decided to hand Cian Healy, Gordon D'Arcy, Tommy Bowe and Sean O'Brien, who has just returned to action with Leinster a rest, while Dave Kearney, who started all five of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations matches on the wing, has been ruled out through injury.
As a result, Simon Zebo slots back into the squad, having missed the RBS 6 Nations, while there is no place for Ian Madigan with Schmidt taking just two fly-halves - Jonathan Sexton and Paddy Jackson.
Madigan instead tours Romania with the emerging Ireland squad.
"We believe to only take two scrum-halves would be very, very difficult, so we have gone for three scrum-halves," said Schmidt.
"To go with six halves would have been a real tightening of numbers.
"We will still be keeping a close eye on the group which goes on the emerging team tour."
Elsewhere, Darren Cave, Fergus McFadden and Robbie Henshaw appear set to battle it out for the No.13 jersey, vacated by Brian O'Driscoll's international retirement following the RBS 6 Nations triumph.
England's preparations for the Autumn International series were potentially dealt a further blow as Maro Itoje was forced to undergo an x-ray after Saracens' European victory over Scarlets on Saturday night.