Joe Schmidt has named the Ireland squad for the two-test tour of Argentina next month.
Leinster out-half Ian Madigan misses out on the trip to the Southern Hemisphere, and instead will travel with the Emerging Ireland squad to Romania.
The move may surprise some supporters as Jonny Sexton could probably do with a rest after a long season. His first campaign as Racing Metro player was preceded by the victorious Lions tour, and he’s also been on Ireland duty last November and during the Six Nations.
Paddy Jackson has been named as the second out-half on the Argentina tour. Schmidt named four uncapped players for the trip. They are Ulster forward pair Rob Herring and Robbie Diack, Munster front row Dave Cronin and Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion. Herring and Diack qualify for Ireland through residency.
Some experienced campaigners have been given the chance to rest and recuperate after a gruelling campaign. Tommy Bowe, Sean Cronin, Gordon Darcy, Sean O’Brien and Cian Healy won’t be on the plane.
Dave Kearney’s injury he picked up against Ulster at the weekend sees him miss out, with Munster’s Simon Zebo given the opportunity to show his worth to Joe Schmidt after playing no part in the Six Nations victory this spring.
Captain Paul O’Connell travels, but this is the first Ireland squad of the post Brian O’Driscoll era, with the talisman having retired from international rugby following the Six Nations.
In his absence, the outside centre spot is up for grabs. With Keith Earls, Darren Cave and Robbie Henshaw all on the plane and mooted as possible replacements at 13, it will be interesting to see who Schmidt auditions in Argentina.
The tests take place on the 7th of June in Resistencia and the 15th in Tucuman.
Rory Best (Ulster), James Cronin (Munster), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Rob Herring (Ulster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Munster, captain), Mike Ross (Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Damien Varley (Munster).
Darren Cave (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Felix Jones (Munster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathon Sexton (Racing Metro), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster).