Irish Rugby
Best to lead Ireland on tour
ESPN Staff
May 19, 2013
Ireland's Rory Best goes over for their try, Ireland v Wales, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, February 5, 2012
Ulster hooker Rory Best was considered unlucky to miss out on this summer's British & Irish Lions tour © Getty Images
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Ulster hooker Rory Best will captain Ireland on their North America tour this summer.

Best will lead a 28-man squad that includes six uncapped players - Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion, Ulster and Ireland U20 centre Stuart Olding, Connacht fullback Robbie Henshaw, Leinster tight-head Jamie Hagan and Munster's openside Tommy O Donnell and hooker, Mike Sherry.

Ireland, stripped of a host of leading names who will be on British & Irish Lions duty, will tackle the USA in Houston on June 8 and Canada in Toronto on June 15. Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris, centre Luke Marshall, the Leinster trio of scrum-half Eoin Reddan, winger Luke Fitzgerald and centre Gordon D'Arcy, Connacht centre David McSharry and Munster centre Keith Earls and prop Stephen Archer were not considered due to injury.

The Irish Rugby Football Union has also announced the Emerging Ireland squad that will compete in the Tbilisi Cup in Georgia next month. A 26-man squad will be captained by Leinster back row Rhys Ruddock.

Acting head coach Les Kiss, who will take charge of the tour with new boss Joe Schmidt set to travel as an observer, said: "Both tours are hugely important in the context of providing valuable game exposure, building depth and gaining experience in the Irish jersey. For the North America tour we have selected a squad who I believe have the right mix of youth and experience and I'm really looking forward to working with them over the next few weeks. USA and Canada have improved enormously since the 2011 RWC and we know we will be in for two tough test matches."

"The Georgian Tour will be a great experience for the players, most of who have recently come through the Ireland underage system. It will be a tough tour with three games in 14 days and a smaller squad of 26 players, which should mean everyone getting significant game time."

Ireland squad:

Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster), Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Tom Court (Ulster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jamie Hagan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*, Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)*, Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster), David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Galwegians/Connacht)*, Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*, Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Marys/Leinster), Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)*, Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*, Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Mike Sherry (Garryowen/Munster)* Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster)

Emerging Ireland:

Michael Allen (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*, Michael Bent (Leinster), Andrew Conway (Blackrock/Leinster)*, John Cooney (Lansdowne/Leinster)*, Sean Cronin (St. Mary's/Leinster), David Foley (UL Bohemian/Munster)*, Eoin Griffin (Galwegians/Connacht)* Cathal Marsh ()*, Michael Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*, Robert Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster)*, David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)*, Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster), Richard Lutton (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*, Brendan Macken (Blackrock/Leinster)*, Jack McGrath (St. Mary's/Leinster)*, Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht)*, Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)*, Niall Morris (Leicester/Exiles)*, Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)*, Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution/Munster)*, Robbie Diack ()*, Tiernan O'Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht)*, Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary's/Leinster), Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster)* John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster)*, Lewis Stevenson (Malone/Ulster)*

*denotes uncapped player

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