Big names left out as Schmidt names 26-man squad for Italy clash in Chicago

Big names left out as Schmidt names 26-man squad for Italy clash in Chicago

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has opted to hold back the likes of captain Rory Best and vice-captains Johnny Sexton and Peter O'Mahony as he named an unfamiliar 26-man Ireland squad to face Italy.

Ireland kick off their November series in Soldier Field, Chicago on Saturday ahead of games against Argentina, New Zealand and the USA in Dublin.

British and Irish Lions forwards Iain Henderson and Sean O'Brien and full-back Rob Kearney have also been left out of the squad to travel to Chicago, with boss Schmidt keeping a clutch of stellar names fresh for the three Dublin encounters.

Ulster back Will Addison has moved a step closer to his Test debut after being names with Leinster playmaker Ross Byrne also edging closer to his Test bow in making the Chicago squad.

Munster star Joey Carbery is also included in 26, who will be battling Byrne for a start as out-half.

Schmidt's decision to keep some senior players fresh for the Dublin encounters also means Ireland will have a new face as captain this weekend.

The squad is not without big names, as Grand Slam winners Jack McGrath, James Ryan, Devin Toner and Garry Ringrose all included.

Ireland squad to face Italy in Chicago:

Forwards: F Bealham (Connacht), T Beirne (Munster) J Conan, S Cronin, T Furlong (all Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), J McGrath (Leinster), J Murphy (Ulster), A Porter (Leinster), Q Roux (Connacht), R Ruddock, James Ryan (both Leinster), N Scannell (Munster), D Toner, J van der Flier (both Leinster).

Backs: W Addison (Ulster), B Aki (Connacht), R Byrne (Leinster), J Carbery, A Conway (both Munster), J Cooney (Ulster), J Larmour, L McGrath, G Ringrose (all Leinster), J Stockdale (Ulster), D Sweetnam (Munster).

- PA and Digital Desk

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