Farrell names five new caps for Ireland

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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has included five uncapped players in his 40-man squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

Leinster trio Ciaran Frawley, Joe McCarthy and Jimmy O'Brien have secured places on the plane, alongside Munster's Jeremy Loughman and Connacht's Cian Prendergast.

Robert Baloucoune, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell and Ronan Kelleher have been ruled out of the three-match series through injury.

Ireland will take on New Zealand on July 2, 9 and 16 in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington respectively, with midweek clashes against the Maori All Blacks scheduled for June 29 and July 12.

The Irish are touring for the first time under head coach Farrell after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of a 2020 trip to Australia and last year's proposed visit to Fiji.

The trip will be another crucial stepping stone towards next year's World Cup in France, where Ireland could potentially meet New Zealand in the quarter-finals for the second-successive tournament, having suffered a 46-14 loss in Japan in 2019.

"This is the start of our Rugby World Cup campaign and it is going to be a fantastic challenge for our group facing five massive tests across the three weeks," Farrell, who was also defence coach for the British and Irish Lions, told the Irish RFU website.

"Touring plays a massive role in teams gelling together and building cohesion on and off the field.

"We will learn so much about the players and the group as a whole as we have to front up for five incredibly tough fixtures, far from the comforts of home and in grounds where the home support will greatly outnumber travelling Irish fans."

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