WILL ADDISON: One of three uncapped players in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad

Ulster's Will Addison
Ulster's Will Addison

Impressive performances on a regular basis since arriving at Ulster over the summer has culminated in a much expected call-up to the Ireland squad for Will Addison.

The Irish qualified back - he has connections in Enniskillen - is one of three uncapped players included in Joe Schmidt’s extended 42-man squad ahead of the November Test series.

The England U20s graduate has played at both fullback and centre for Ulster, giving accomplished performances in both.

Having signed for Ulster from English side Sale, there was always a high expectancy he would be involved in the green shirt sooner rather than later.

The 26-year-old had joined Ireland for training in Australia during the summer tour and he was also part of a 50-strong training squad at Carton House in August.

Addison’s flexibility in being able to cover a range of key positions could count in his favour as competition for places hots up with less than a year to go until the World Cup.

As well as Addison, Schmidt also called up Leinster’s Ross Byrne and former Ulster back, Sam Arnold, now playing with Munster as the other two uncapped players.

Addison’s inclusion boosts the Ulster representation to eight ahead of the four matches next month.

There is a welcome recall for centre Stuart McCloskey. Jacob Stockdale and John Cooney are the other two backs included.

Rory Best, Rob Herring, Iain Henderson and Jordi Murphy are named in the forwards.

Cooney will be keen to press his case with the door open for the starting number nine in the absence of British Lion and Munster star Conor Murray.

Head coach Joe Schmidt is expected to rotate heavily and several regular starters are set to be left at home as the rest of the squad travel to Soldier Field, Chicago, to face Italy on November 3.

Ireland will then return to Dublin and face Argentina (Nov 10), New Zealand (Nov 17) and the USA (Nov 24).

That latter game will allow the opportunity for some of the fringe players to push their cases.

Murray moved to explain his injury situation yesterday, with updates on his neck troubles having been previously intermittent.

Asked when he might be back in action, Murray said: “A couple of weeks; obviously the (Ireland) squad is being named today and I haven’t chatted to anyone.

“I’ve been over and back and they know where I am with the injury.

“I’d have been lucky to be named in it because I haven’t played and you need that - especially with the calibre of Argentina and the All Blacks in particular. You’re going to have to be ready.

“So, in and around the end of November hopefully,” Murray added.

In terms of the overall squad selection Schmidt admitted there were some difficult choices to make.

“As always there have been a number of close calls in selection, meaning that some very good players have missed out in this particular window.

“The upcoming series offers an exciting opportunity for the squad but will also be very challenging.”

Meanwhile, Irishman Ian McKinley has been included in the Italy squad for the opening match on 3 November.

Head coach Conor O’Shea has taken the unusual step of naming his team 10 days in advance with McKinley, who lost the sight in his left eye in 2011, selected among the substitutes.