Zebo returns as Ireland confirm 38-man squad

Jonathan Sexton and Simon Zebo celebrate winning 18/3/2017
Andy Farrell has named a 38-man Ireland squad which includes Simon Zebo for the first time since 2017 for the upcoming Autumn Nations Series fixtures.

Andy Farrell has named a 38-man Ireland squad which includes Simon Zebo for the first time since 2017 for the upcoming Autumn Nations Series fixtures.

The 31-year-old departed 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.

His last appearance for Ireland came four years ago against Japan, having also played every game of the 2017 Championship as Zebo and Co denied England the Grand Slam and Triple Crown.

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Six of Ireland’s players who toured with the British and Irish Lions during the summer – Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Tadgh Furlong, Iain Henderson and Conor Murray – are included as is Ronan Kelleher who joined the squad late in South Africa.

Six of the players who won their first caps during the summer series in July have been included in the squad, with Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne, Gavin Coombes, James Hume, Tom O’Toole and Nick Timoney all recalled.

There are also two uncapped players named in Leinster duo Dan Sheehan and Ciaran Frawley while Robbie Henshaw continues his rehabilitation programme under the supervision of the Ireland medical team.

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Thomas Ahern (Munster) and Jamie Osborne (Leinster) will train with the squad as development players during this window.

Farrell said: “It has been a short lead in to 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.

“In a few weeks’ time we will face an exciting and well coached Japan team who showed in July what a dangerous team they are. New Zealand dominated the Rugby Championship losing just one game while Argentina are battle hardened from playing the southern hemisphere’s Big 3 week in week out over the past two months.

“It would be fantastic to play in front of a full-house at the Aviva Stadium. We had small crowds back in for the games in July and even that made a huge difference to the team and the atmosphere in the stadium.”

Ireland Autumn Nations Series Squad 2021


Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 5 caps, Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 16 caps, Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 22 caps, Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 20 caps, Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps, Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 19 caps, Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 9 caps, Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 49 caps, Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 109 caps, Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 63 caps, Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 22 caps, Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps, Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 45 caps, Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 76 caps, Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 1 cap, Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps, James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps, Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne)*, Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap, Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps


Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 31 caps, Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 1 cap, Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) 1 cap, Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 24 caps, Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 3 caps, Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 25 caps, Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 93 caps, Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD)*, Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 10 caps, James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap, Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 13 caps, Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 30 caps, James Lowe (Leinster) 6 caps, Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 5 caps, Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 89 caps, Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps, Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 99 caps CAPTAIN, Simon Zebo (Munster/Cork Constitution) 35 caps