Ireland A will play against an All Blacks XV in November at the RDS

Andy Farrell will get another look at his wider squad this autumn.

Leinster's Joe McCarthy in action against the Maori All Blacks.
Leinster's Joe McCarthy in action against the Maori All Blacks.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Updated Sep 13th 2022, 3:00 PM

IRELAND’S FRINGE PLAYERS will have another opportunity to impress this autumn, with the IRFU confirming that Ireland A will play against the New Zealand All Blacks XV.

The game will take place at the RDS on Friday 4 November, the evening before Andy Farrell’s senior Ireland team face South Africa at the Aviva Stadium.

This new Ireland A fixture is part of a recent push by the IRFU to have a second national team playing matches in the lead-up to next year’s World Cup as Farrell looks to build greater depth.

Farrell brought a big squad to New Zealand over the summer in order to play two midweek games against the Māori All Blacks, with Ireland winning the second of those clashes in impressive fashion.

Emerging Ireland will travel to South Africa at the end of this month for a three-game tour, with a 35-man group for that trip due to be named tomorrow.

Players who stand out in South Africa could then be involved for Ireland A in the November fixture against an All Blacks XV that is set to be made up of fringe New Zealand internationals.

“It is great that we could get this fixture over the line and provides another opportunity for those that stand out on the Emerging Ireland tour to test themselves against a very strong All Blacks XV,” said Ireland boss Farrell.

“The two fixtures against the Māori All Blacks in the summer gave that young group a great insight into what it takes to compete in international rugby and this fixture will allow us to expose more players to that level of competition.” 

It will be intriguing to see who the Irish coaching staff include in their squad for the upcoming Emerging Ireland tour, which involves games against the Griquas on 30 September, the Pumas on 5 October, and the Cheetahs on 9 October.

It’s expected that several of the players who were involved against the Māori will be part of the squad, as well as a crop of younger players who have shone for the Ireland U20s in recent seasons.

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The tour will clash with several rounds of the URC, meaning there will be disruption for the four Irish provinces even if many of their frontline internationals are expected to be available early on this season.

It’s believed that this clash has caused friction between the provinces and the IRFU, particularly given how close to the start of the season the Emerging Ireland tour was announced.

Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby steps up as head coach for the trip to South Africa as Farrell takes a backseat and it’s thought that the Irish provinces are also confused as to why the Ireland boss isn’t leading the tour.

It’s understood that Farrell is keen to continue developing his coaching staff as well as his player pool ahead of the World Cup.

The IRFU said ticket information for the Ireland A fixture at the RDS will be available in the coming weeks.

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