No Chris Henry as ten Ulster stars receive Irish call
Ten Ulster players will join up with Ireland this weekend for a one-day training camp but there is no place in the 44-man squad for Chris Henry.
Joe Schmidt will assemble an extended panel in County Meath on Sunday as he prepares his side for a three Test tour of South Africa this summer.
Henry, 31, has been a key contributor for the Kiwi coach in the past but has missed out on this occasion.
The Malone man was a starter during the 2014 Six Nations campaign, and went to last year's World Cup after recovering from a mini-stroke, but appears to have been overtaken by Leinster duo Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier in recent times after battling with a shoulder injury in the build-up to this year's internationals.
Fellow Kingspan Stadium star Darren Cave, who like Henry was at the World Cup but hasn't featured for Ireland since, is another who has not been included.
After making his comeback in an Ulster 'A' game last week, Tommy Bowe also won't be present on Sunday with the wing only expected to make his full senior return when Les Kiss' side take on Zebre on Saturday.
The two-time Lions tourist is battling back from a serious knee injury sustained in the World Cup quarter final defeat to Argentina in October.
Having overcome his own injury problems recently, however, Iain Henderson is back in the fold with Rory Best and Rob Herring the other Ulster forwards included.
Among the backs, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart Olding, Jared Payne and Stuart McCloskey will all be on hand.
Leinster's Garry Ringrose and Luke McGrath, as well as the Connacht duo of Matt Healy and Quinn Roux, are the uncapped players called upon, although there is no place for Dennis Buckley who has been excellent for Pat Lam's men this season.
The Springboks kicked off their own preparations for the June meetings with Ireland this week by belatedly unveiling Allister Coetzee as their new head coach.
The 52-year-old was long suspected to be the man replacing Heyneke Meyer after the World Cup but the appointment was delayed thanks to Coetzee's contract with Japanese side Kobelco Steelers.
Irish training squad:
Forwards: Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Rory Best (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Tommy O'Donnell (Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Quinn Roux (Connacht), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), CJ Stander (Munster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster).
Backs: Keith Earls (Munster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Matt Healy (Connacht), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), David Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Luke McGrath (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Stuart Olding (Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster).
Ulster's Ashleigh Baxter has been selected in the Ireland women's squad for the Canada 7s, which take place in Langford this weekend.
Anthony Eddy's side have been drawn in Pool C alongside the hosts, England and Japan.