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Simmons throws down gauntlet

By Ian Callender

National coach Phil Simmons has challenged everyone taking part in this season's expanded RSA inter-provincial series to use it as a route to the Ireland team.

Speaking in College Park, Dublin, yesterday at the official launch of the series, which will be played over all three-formats, Simmons said: "This is the perfect platform for all cricketers, young and old, to show the selectors exactly what they are capable of.

"We expect these games to be highly competitive and will be looking for strong performances from all three teams.

"We're looking for qualities and technique that prove that guys have what it takes to perform at a higher level and in the international arena.

"Don't fear failure and don't die wondering," was his message.

"We've been to the finals of five ICC world tournaments in the past six years, with hopefully many more to come. There's never been a better time to be an Irish cricketer."

NCU coach Eugene Moleon, who also attended the launch said: "Everyone in the Knights camp is training hard and willing to go the extra mile to ensure that we are ready for this series."

Meanwhile, Leinster Lightning have named no fewer than nine internationals in their 12-man squad for Monday's opener, a 50-over game against the Knights at The Hills.

Captained by Kevin O'Brien, it includes coach Trent Johnston as well as Alex Cusack, all of whom have won over 100 caps.

Leinster Lightning: K O'Brien (capt), J Anderson, A Balbirnie, A Cusack, T Kane, F McAllister, A Poynter, E Richardson, M Sorensen, A Van der Merwe, T Johnston, B Ackland.

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