Newly qualified: Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss has been selected after three years in Dublin

DECLAN KIDNEY has named a 31-man squad for Ireland’s upcoming Test matches against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina.

There are four uncapped players named in the squad, including Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss who qualifies for the national side after three years with the European champions. Other players included are prop David Kilcoyne, centre Luke Marshall and Ulster lock forward Iain Henderson.

Full-back Rob Kearney is set to undergo surgery on his back in the coming days, ruling him out for 8-10 weeks and consequently forcing him to miss the November Internationals.

Anthony Foley has joined the Ireland coaching setup as a defence coach, allowing Les Kiss to handle the attack.

Declan Kidney said: “We have three incredibly competitive games ahead of us in November and while there have been quite a few injuries and niggles in the early part of the season, it has opened up opportunities for other players to step into the squad. There are world ranking points on offer, so the underlying challenge for us is to work towards retaining and improving our ranking position ahead of the Rugby World Cup pool draw. While that is the end goal, our focus will be getting our preparations right to match the intensity of international games.

“I’m pleased that Anthony has taken up the offer of working with the squad to assist during this vital period in November. His previous experience of working with the team during the last RBS 6 Nations championship was important, but his own abilities and experience were central to bringing him onboard. I would like to thank Rob Penney and Joe Schmidt for being so positive and giving Anthony Foley and Greg (Feek) the scope to be part of the plans that we have.”

Ireland Squad:

Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Tom Court, Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls, Stephen Ferris, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson*, Chris Henry, David Kilcoyne*, Luke Marshall*, John Muldoon, Conor Murray, Mike McCarthy, Fergus McFadden, Kevin McLaughlin, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Brian O’Driscoll (C), Ronan O’Gara, Peter O’Mahony, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, Richardt Strauss*, Andrew Trimble, Dan Tuohy, Simon Zebo

*denotes uncapped player

Fixtures:
Ireland v South Africa, Saturday 10 November, Aviva Stadium, Kick-off: 17:30
Ireland v Fiji, Saturday 17 November, Thomond Park Stadium, Kick-off: 17:30
Ireland v Argentina, Saturday 24 November, Aviva Stadium, Kick-off: 14:00

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