RUGBY: Impressive Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale included in Ireland squad

Ulster and Ireland winger Jacob Stockdale
Ulster and Ireland winger Jacob Stockdale

In-form Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale has the chance to add to his two Ireland caps during the summer by being included in the Irish panel for next month's Guinness Test series.

Stockdale, who has been scoring tries for fun in the past couple of months for Ulster, is one of six Ulster players to make the panel.

Centre Stuart McCloskey has also been rewarded for some impressive performances in the Provincial jersey.

Kieran Treadwell, who also made his Irish debut with Stockdale during the summer tour of USA and Japan, is named in the forwards along with captain Rory Best and Iain Henderson.

Ulster's second choice starting hooker, Rob Herring, gets a deserved call and will hopefully win his first cap playing in the hooker position, his previous sole cap coming off the bench and playing in the backrow.

Meanwhile, Connacht's battering-ram centre Bundee Aki has won his first Ireland call-up for the November internationals after completing his residency qualification.

The New Zealand-born midfielder with Samoan parents has impressed consistently since joining Connacht in 2014, helping the Galway province lift the 2016 Guinness PRO12 title.

The 27-year-old's timely qualification will offset a clutch of midfield injuries for head coach Joe Schmidt, who has named four uncapped players in a 38-man squad for the Test clashes with South Africa, Fiji and Argentina.

Schmidt has named the uncapped quartet of Aki, Leinster's Adam Byrne and Munster duo Chris Farrell, formerly of Ulster, and Darren Sweetnam for next month's Tests, with fit-again Best retaining the captaincy.

"In what we anticipate will be an incredibly physical Guinness Series plenty will be demanded of the squad," said Ireland boss Schmidt.

"We have retained a core of experienced players but have also included a number of promising players that we hope will acquit themselves well."

Aki's inclusion will help Schmidt cope with the injury absence of star Leinster centre Garry Ringrose, and also aid in the continued absence of Ulster duo Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding due to off-field reasons.

Ireland will open the series against South Africa on Saturday November 11, playing Fiji and Argentina, on the following two Saturdays, November 18 and 25. All three games will be played at the Aviva Stadium, Dulbin, with 5.30pm kick-offs.

IRELAND SQUAD

Forwards: R Best (Ulster, capt), J Conan (Leinster), U Dillane (Connacht), T Furlong, C Healy (both Leinster), I Henderson, R Herring (both Ulster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), D Leavy, J McGrath, S O'Brien (all Leinster), T O'Donnell, P O'Mahony (both Munster), A Porter, R Ruddock, James Ryan (all Leinster), John Ryan, CJ Stander (both Munster), D Toner, J Tracy (both Leinster), K Treadwell (Ulster).

Backs: B Aki (Connacht), A Byrne, J Carbery (both Leinster), A Conway, K Earls, C Farrell (all Munster), R Henshaw, D Kearney, R Kearney (all Leinster), I Keatley (Munster), K Marmion (Connacht), S McCloskey (Ulster), L McGrath (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), J Sexton (Leinster), J Stockdale (Ulster), D Sweetnam (Munster).