The Ireland coaching team have named a 37-man squad for the upcoming Bank of Ireland Nations Series fixtures against world champions South Africa, Fiji and Australia at Aviva Stadium.An additional panel of players has been named for the Ireland ‘A’ fixture against the All Blacks XV which takes place in the RDS on Friday 4th November.Ireland will play the Springboks for the first time in six years when Jacques Nienaber’s World Cup-winning side return to Aviva Stadium on Saturday 5th November (Kick-off 5.30pm).Fiji also return to Dublin for the first time since 2017 on Saturday 12th November (Kick-off 1pm), while Ireland’s final game of the Series is against Australia on Saturday 19th November (Kick-off 8pm). Ireland last faced the Wallabies in the summer of 2018 where they secured a famous series victory.The Ireland squad will be captained byJohnny Sexton and there are six uncapped players in the squad: Ciaran Frawley, Jeremy Loughman, Joe McCarthy, Calvin Nash, Jimmy O’Brienand Cian Prendergast.Frawley, Loughman, McCarthy, O’Brien and Prendergast featured for the Ireland XV that played against the Maori All Blacks during the Summer Tour of New Zealand.Prendergast, McCarthy, Robert Baloucoune and Calvin Nash were also part of the Emerging Ireland squad that played against the Griquas, Pumas and Cheetahs in Bloemfontein earlier this month.The Ireland ‘A’ panel includes Tom Ahern, Diarmuid Barron, Jack Crowley, Shane Daly, Max Deegan, Jamie Osborne, Scott Penny and Roman Salanoa from the Emerging Ireland squad as well as experienced front-row forwards Dave Kilcoyne and Marty Moore.  Players in the A Panel will join the squad following Round 7 of the URC.Ireland ‘A’ take on a strong All Black XV squad on the 4th November in the RDS (Kick-off 7.45pm – tickets on General Sale via from Saturday 22nd October at 10am). The All Black XV squad features experienced Test players such as Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara and Patrick Tuipulotu.There are limited tickets available for Ireland v Fiji at Aviva Stadium here.Ireland Squad – Bank of Ireland Nations Series 2022:Backs (16)Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 2 capsJoey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 35 capsCraig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 5 capsCiaran Frawley (Leinster/Skerries) uncappedJamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 20 capsMack Hansen (Connacht) 6 capsRobbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 60 capsHugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 23 capsMichael Lowry (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 capConor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 99 capsStuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 6 capsCalvin Nash (Munster/Young Munster) uncappedJimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) uncappedGarry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 44 capsJohnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 108 caps CAPTAINJacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 capsForwards (21)Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 capsFinlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 25 capsTadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 33 capsJack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 30 capsGavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 capsCaelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 20 capsTadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 60 capsDave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 7 capsCian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 118 capsRob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 28 capsJeremy Loughman (Munster/Garryowen) uncappedJoe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin) uncappedPeter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 87 capsTom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 3 capsAndrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 46 capsCian Prendergast (Connacht) uncappedJames Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 46 capsDan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 10 capsNick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 2 capsKieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 8 capsJosh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 43 capsIreland ‘A’ Panel:Tom Ahern (Munster/Shannon)Diarmuid Barron (Munster/Garryowen)Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) 1 capJack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution)Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 capsMax Deegan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 1 capJames Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 3 capsDave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 48 capsMarty Moore (Ulster) 10 capsJamie Osbourne (Leinster/Naas)Scott Penny (Leinster/UCD)Roman Salanoa (Munster/Shannon)Bank of Ireland – Title Sponsor of Nations Series:The IRFU have secured Bank of Ireland as the title sponsor for Ireland’s Nations Series fixtures against South Africa, Fiji and Australia in November 2022 and the pre-World Cup fixtures in August 2023 at the Aviva Stadium against Italy (August 5th) and England (August 19th). Bank of Ireland are a long-time supporter of Irish Rugby and have sponsor partnerships with all four provinces supporting both the professional and domestic game.Kevin Potts, IRFU CEO, commented, “Bank of Ireland have built a strong connection to Irish rugby through their investment in our game over the past 20 years. Their provincial sponsorships are hugely beneficial not just to the professional game, but to the continued development of provincial club competitions and female representative teams. The arrival of the World Champions South Africa to the Aviva Stadium is a great fixture to cement this new partnership.”Speaking on the new sponsorship, Gavin Kelly, Interim CEO, Bank of Ireland said: “Bank of Ireland is a proud supporter of rugby in Ireland through our sponsorship of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster Rugby. Today, we are delighted to further strengthen our involvement as title sponsor of the Bank of Ireland Nations Series. This new partnership with the IRFU underlines our long-term commitment to Irish rugby which is founded on the success of the provincial game and the extraordinary commitment of the players. We share the excitement of rugby fans across Ireland as we look forward to a really exciting set of matches in November against some of the world’s best teams – South Africa, Fiji, and Australia.”Bank of Ireland Nations Series and Ireland ‘A’ Fixtures:       IRELAND ‘A’ v All Blacks XVFriday 4th November, 2022, RDS, KO 19:45IRELAND v South AfricaSaturday 5th November, 2022, Aviva Stadium, KO 17:30IRELAND v FijiSaturday 12th November, 2022, Aviva Stadium, KO 13:00IRELAND v AustraliaSaturday 19th November, 2022, Aviva Stadium, KO 20:00

Last Friday was one to remember at The Sportsground with a much needed win over Munster. The Interprovincial-derby’s keep on coming though, Leinster come to Galway this Friday in Round 5 of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Connacht hooker Dave Heffernan spoke to media during the week about the win over Munster and what it meant to the team.

“It was an important win no doubt about it and one we needed but we’re not getting carried away with it”

“I think Connacht teams in the past may have let that result get the better of them but there’s a bigger picture with this team and I think that shows the growth of where this club is now”

“We believe and know we can match the other provinces and anything less than a win at home for us is unacceptable”

The Connacht set-piece was working a charm last Friday, the line-out being a big part of that which Heffernan discussed.

“It was our best line-out performance of the season”

“I’ve been disappointed how its gone the first few games so I was really happy to see it go well last Friday”

“We’ve been working really hard on our set-pieces and we can see the improvements being made each week”

The Mayo man has been a part of every match day squad this season to date and has been delighted to get a good run of games under his belt.

“I felt I was a bit off the pace at the start but last week I’ve felt better and getting back to where I need to be”

“The competition for places keeps you on your toes as well and its great to that push”

“Getting plenty of time under my belt in these opening rounds is only going to benefit me”

Connacht welcome an inform Leinster side who have won their opening four games of the URC and  Heffernan know’s Connacht will have to raise their performance from the Munster win if they are to stop Leo Cullen’s men.

“They are one of the best teams in the world and its always a big challenge no matter what team they select”

“We’re looking forward to it and we know the atmosphere for these games are always unreal so we can’t wait for Friday to come”

Tickets for Friday’s game are available HERE


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