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Munster facilitate Ryan request as Schmidt gets set to name Ireland squad

The squad to travel to the US and Japan will be named today.

RASSIE ERASMUS SAYS Munster were happy to work with Leinster and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt after a request for the southern province to facilitate promising young lock James Ryan getting game time last weekend.

The Leinster second row is on his way back from a serious hamstring injury and was a surprise inclusion in the Munster Development side that played against the Ireland U20s on Saturday in Thomond Park.

James Ryan James Ryan lined out in Munster Development's win over the Ireland U20s. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Ryan’s involvement only added to the murmurs that he will be part of the Ireland squad Schmidt names today for the tour of the US and Japan next month.

The 20-year-old is a former St. Michael’s College and Ireland U20s captain and has shown great promise throughout his youth. Ryan is currently in the Leinster academy but will move onto a professional contract with his home province next season.

Speaking yesterday in Limerick, Erasmus dismissed the notion that Ryan might be heading for a more permanent move south this summer, underlining that Munster had simply been helping out Leinster and Schmidt.

“No, no, it was purely just a request for him to get match fitness through Leinster and Joe Schmidt,” said Erasmus.

“Obviously there’s not another game where he could play before being able to be selected [for Ireland] I guess and they just asked if he could play for us because we did have a friendly, if you could call it that, and we said, ‘Yes, no problem.’

“So that’s the only reason for that.”

If Ryan is named in Schmidt’s Ireland squad today it would represent a swift rise for a man who has yet to make a senior appearance for Leinster, although the lock has been tipped for big things since his early days in St. Michael’s.

If included, Ryan may be among a handful of uncapped players in Schmidt’s squad for the summer tour, with the likes of Ulster’s Kieran Treadwell, Rory Scannell of Munster, and 21-year-old Leinster prop Andrew Porter also understood to be in contention.

Joe Schmidt attends the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

With the World Cup in Japan now just over two years away, Schmidt is also likely to bring an experienced core of players such as Simon Zebo, Cian Healy, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock, Paddy Jackson and – depending on fitness – Leinster’s Rob Kearney.

However, the opportunity to potentially blood the likes of Porter and Ryan at this stage in the World Cup cycle has been on Schmidt’s mind too, meaning today’s squad announcement should hold excitement for fans hoping to see new faces among the 31 or 32 players announced.

Ireland face the US Eagles in New Jersey on Saturday 10 June, before the first meeting with Japan in Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi a week later and a final Test against the Brave Blossoms in Ajinomoto Stadium on Saturday 24 June.

Japan and the US are currently ranked 11th and 17th in the world, respectively, meaning Ireland will be expected to win all three games on tour.

Ireland last week drew Japan in their 2019 Rugby World Cup pool, meaning this tour is even more ideally timed in terms of playing in two of the RWC stadiums against Jamie Joseph’s side.

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