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Simon Easterby will take charge of a 35-man Emerging Ireland squad for a tour of South Africa in a month’s time.

As was reported in recent days, an Emerging Ireland squad will travel to South Africa to take on three Currie Cup sides; the Griquas, Pumas and Cheetahs, across a 10-day period in September and October.

All three games will take place at the home of the Cheetahs, Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein.

Easterby will act as Emerging Ireland’s head coach, while he will be supported by fellow national team coaches Paul O’Connell, Mike Catt and John Fogarty. Ireland head coach Andy Farrell will seemingly not travel to South Africa.

The newly-appointed Emerging Ireland boss explained that the tour is taking place in order to further prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Opportunities for those on the fringes of the Irish squad.

“The growth we witnessed in the less experienced players in New Zealand over the four weeks was incredible to see,” Easterby said.

“The two Māori fixtures were invaluable in broadening our talent pool ahead of RWC23 and the coaching group see this as another opportunity to increase the depth of talent available to the national squad ahead of the World Cup in France and beyond.”

IRFU performance director David Nucifora revealed that the tour hasn’t been been planned for long but he is confident that it will provide great opportunities for Ireland’s young up and coming players.

“This opportunity presented itself quite late but the drawn series against the Māori All Blacks in July highlighted the value of exposing less experienced players to the rigours of an international set-up and the benefit that can be garnered from a challenging touring environment and exposure to the national coaching group,” Nucifora explained.

“This tournament will provide a significant development opportunity for a group of talented young players.”

Emerging Ireland fixtures.

Friday 30th September 2022
Windhoek Draught Griquas vs Emerging Ireland
KO: 12:45 (Irish time)

Wednesday 5th October 2022
Airlink Pumas vs Emerging Ireland
KO: 16:00 (Irish time)

Sunday 9th October 2022
Toyota Cheetahs vs Emerging Ireland
KO: 12:00 (Irish time)

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