Ian Madigan to tour on Irish emerging squad to Romania

Ulster's Rob Herring

Ulster's Rob Herring

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Ian Madigan has been left out of Ireland’s summer tour to Argentina as head coach Joe Schmidt selected four uncapped stars in a 30-man squad on Monday.

The Ulster backrow and hooker are two of four uncapped players included in the 30-man squad named by Ireland coach, Joe Schmidt yesterday - Munster prop James Cronin and Connacht scrumhalf, Kieran Marmion, the other two.

In all there are nine Ulster players included, Rory Best, Chris Henry, Iain Henderson, Darren Cave, Paddy Jackson, Andrew Trimble and Luke Marshall are included in the squad for the two Test tour.

Leinster playmaker Madigan has missed out with Schmidt instead opting to take just two specialist fly-halves, Racing Metro’s Johnny Sexton and Ulster’s Jackson.

Former Leinster boss Schmidt said Madigan will tour Romania with the Emerging Ireland squad, along with Munster’s fast-improving outside-half Ian Keatley.

Cian Healy, Gordon D’Arcy, Sean O’Brien and Tommy Bowe have been handed a break in the summer, with Schmidt conscious of an arduous and unrelenting build-up to Rugby World Cup 2015.

“We believe to only take two scrum-halves would be very, very difficult, so we have gone for three scrum-halves,” said Schmidt, explaining Madigan’s omission.

“To go with six halves would have been a real tightening of numbers.

“We will still be keeping a close eye on the group which goes on the emerging team tour.”

Ireland face the Pumas in Resistencia on June 7 before a second Test in Tucuman on June 15.

Leinster wing Dave Kearney’s knee injury suffered against Ulster on Saturday has ruled him out of the tour, with fit-again Munster flyer Simon Zebo slotting in after missing the entire Six Nations.

South Africa-born Ulster duo Diack and Herring have qualified through residency and could make international debuts this summer.

Prop Cronin and half-back Marmion have also been handed chances to shine, while Darren Cave and Robbie Henshaw will battle it out to succeed the retired Brian O’Driscoll at outside centre.

Schmidt admitted it would be vital to hand a number of senior stars a rest this summer, with the World Cup next autumn already hurtling into view.

Sean Cronin and Dan Tuohy are two more left at home after battling injury for much of the campaign.

“It’s really just player management,” Schmidt said.

“There are guys who have had continuous niggly injuries that are going to be given a good amount of time in the pre-season to recover from those.

“Obviously Sean (O’Brien) has come back (after shoulder surgery) and played very few minutes.

“It was a discussion I had with both players (O’Brien and Bowe), and there are a number of others who we would feel are better served by getting a window to fully recover.

“Also a number of them have accumulated very brief pre-seasons by the time they go away on June tours, Lions tours and the like.”