Jack Crowley celebrates with Shane Daly on the 2022 tour. Steve Haag/INPHO

Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa confirmed for October

Simon Easterby will be head coach of the young Irish squad again.

THE IRFU HAS confirmed that Emerging Ireland will tour South Africa again next season, with three games confirmed for early October.

Simon Easterby will be head coach of the young Irish squad again, as was the case for the 2022 tour to South Africa, and they will play against South Africa’s Pumas and Cheetahs, as well as Australia’s Western Force.

All three matches will take place at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, the Cheetahs’ home venue.

With current senior Ireland head coach Andy Farrell stepping back from his duties in 2025 to take on the Lions head coach role, Easterby is the favourite to step up as Ireland boss on a temporary basis for that spell.

Easterby will be joined on this year’s Emerging Ireland tour by fellow senior assistant coaches Paul O’Connell, John Fogarty, and Andrew Goodman – who links up with the senior set-up as attack coach from this summer.

The Emerging Ireland squad will be named in September, with the group gathering in Dublin on 25 September before flying to South Africa three days later.

The 2022 tour was deemed a success by the IRFU as several talented young Irish players impressed, with Jack Crowley and Joe McCarthy becoming senior internationals soon after, while Calvin Nash has joined them this season.

As with the 2022 tour, next season’s South Africa trip will clash directly with the URC – something that caused major friction with the four provinces at that time. Players who travel with Emerging Ireland next season look set to be unavailable for at least three rounds of the league.

joe-mccarthy Joe McCarthy on the Emerging Ireland tour in 2022. Steve Haag / INPHO Steve Haag / INPHO / INPHO

“The 2022 Tour was of huge value, as evidenced by the cohort of players who have come through and been capped at Test level for Ireland since,” said Easterby of today’s announcement.

“It will be a short preparation window leading into three tough matches but that is part of the challenge for the whole group, building connections and getting up to speed to meet the demands of playing in a green jersey.”

Senior Ireland head coach Farrell, who did not travel on the 2022 tour, also welcomed confirmation of next season’s trip to South Africa.

“We are delighted to confirm details of a second Emerging Ireland Tour to South Africa later this year, the value of which cannot be understated,” said Farrell.

“This short three-match window will once again provide an opportunity for players within the system to come into a national team environment, work with the national team coaches and access meaningful game time in a green jersey.

“Ahead of a busy four-match Autumn Nations Series in November, it is important we continue to broaden our selection pool and ensure young players are given every opportunity to further develop and gain an understanding of what is required to perform for Ireland at the highest level.”

The IRFU says kick-off times and broadcast details for the Emerging Ireland tour will be confirmed in due course.

Emerging Ireland tour 2024:

All games at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein 

  • Wednesday, 2 October: Emerging Ireland v The Pumas
  • Sunday, 6 October: Emerging Ireland v Western Force
  • Wednesday, 9 October: Emerging Ireland v The Cheetahs.
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