Tbilisi Cup: Allen Clarke names Emerging Ireland squad
Leinster forward Rhys Ruddock heads five senior internationals included in development squad
Ulster forwards coach Allen Clarke has named his 27-man Emerging Ireland squad to compete at the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup in Georgia next month.
The Ireland development squad, also coached by Leinster Academy manager Girvan Dempsey, will head to the Avchala Stadium for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 2013 to take on an Emerging Italy side, as well as Uruguay and hosts Georgia, who are both using the tournament as a Rugby World Cup warm-up event.
There are some exciting prospects in this Emerging Ireland 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.
The squad includes five players capped at senior level for Ireland, including Leinster back-row forward Rhys Ruddock and Munster duo Stephen Archer and James Cronin.
Several familiar faces also return from the 2013 and 2014 Emerging Ireland squads, including Munster trio JJ Hanrahan, Billy Holland and Andrew Conway, Ulster duo Lewis Stevenson and Stuart McCloskey, and Connacht’s John Cooney, Tiernan O’Halloran.
“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 format,” Clarke said.
“It’s a great opportunity to see how these players react and perform faced with the challenge of a short preparation.”
Emerging Ireland begin the tournament against Emerging Italy on Saturday 13 June, before taking on Uruguay four days later and finishing up against Georgia on Sunday 21 June.
Emerging Ireland Squad (27):
Forwards (15): Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution/Munster), Finlay Bealham (Corinthians/Connacht), Denis Buckley (Corinthians/Connacht), James Cronin (Dolphin/Munster), Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht), Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Billy Holland (Cork Constitution/Munster), Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster), Ben Marshall (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Eoghan Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht), Eoin McKeon (Corinthians/Connacht), Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster), Lewis Stevenson (Malone/Ulster), Frank Taggart (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Andy Warwick (Ballymena/Ulster).
Backs (12): Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster), John Cooney (Terenure/Connacht), Eoin Griffin (London Irish), JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), Matt Healy (Lansdowne/Connacht), Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster), Peter Nelson (Malone/Ulster), Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht), Noel Reid (Clontarf/Leinster), Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster).
Emerging Ireland Team Management:
Allen Clarke – Coach
Girvan Dempsey – Assistant Coach
Joey Miles – Manager
Jim McShane – Team Doctor
Karl Denvir – Physio
Sean Mannion – Team Analyst
Aidan O’Connell – S&C Coach
Johnny O’Hagan – Baggage Man
Carmel O’Dwyer – Squad Coordinator
Emerging Italy v Emerging Ireland
Saturday 13th June 14:00 BST
Uruguay v Emerging Ireland
Wednesday 17th June 14:00 BST
Georgia v Emerging Ireland
Sunday 21st June 16:00 BST