Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has omitted Simon Zebo from his squad for the November Internationals and handed call-ups to the uncapped back-line quartet of Bundee Aki, Adam Byrne, Chris Farrell and Darren Sweetnam.

The New Zealand native has named a 38-player group of 21 forwards and 17 backs for the tests against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in the Aviva Stadium next month.

Schmidt said: "In what we anticipate will be an incredibly physical Guinness Series, plenty will be demanded of the squad. We have retained a core of experienced players but have also included a number of promising players that we hope will acquit themselves well."

Munster's versatile back Zebo announced on Tuesday that he would be leaving the province next season; reports yet to be confirmed have linked him with Paris club Racing 92.

Schmidt said over the summer that he would enforce a policy of only selecting home-based players, as the IRFU can better manage players work-load between province and country, suggesting the odds of an overseas player making the squad were 25%.

Given Jonathan Sexton had been selected while playing for Racing for two seasons in 2013-15, there had been some speculation a similar exception might be offered to Zebo, or that he would be still be called up until leaving Munster, but that avenue now seems closed to the Corkman.

Earlier today, Leinster and Lions back-row Sean O'Brien told RTÉ he expected Zebo would still be selected.

There is also no place in the squad for Leinster pair Sean Cronin or Jordi Murphy, Ulster's Luke Marshall and Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran.

Ireland face the Springboks on November 11 for the first time since the 2015 Summer Tour where they recorded a first ever victory on South African soil at Newlands but ultimately lost the series decider. 

Earlier this month the Springboks came within a point of beating the All Blacks in their final game of this year's Rugby Championship having twice drawn with Australia and recorded victories home and away against the Pumas. 

The Bok squad will be led by the 63 time capped lock Eben Etzebeth with their full European tour travelling party set to be named after the Currie Cup final.

Fiji come to Ireland (November 18) as the reigning Pacific Nations Cup champions and have secured qualification for Rugby World Cup 2019 by virtue of being the top team in the region over the course of the past two seasons.

There are a number of familiar names within their squad such as Newcastle Falcons' Vereniki Goneva, Racing 92's Leone Nakarawa and Toulon's Josua Tuisova while Montpellier's Nemani Nadolo could also feature for the Flying Fijians.

The final game of the series sees Ireland square off against Argentina on November 25. The two sides have not met since the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff in October 2015. 

The Pumas have recently added Mario Ledesma to their backroom team. The hooker who was capped 84 times for his country joins from the Wallabies backroom team and played under Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at Clermont Auvergne.


Rory Best (captain)
Jack Conan
Ultan Dillane
Tadhg Furlong
Cian Healy
Iain Henderson
Rob Herring
Dave Kilcoyne
Dan Leavy
Jack McGrath
Sean O'Brien
Tommy O'Donnell
Peter O'Mahony
Andrew Porter
Rhys Ruddock
James Ryan
John Ryan
CJ Stander
Devin Toner
James Tracey
Kieran Treadwell

Bundee Aki
Adam Byrne
Joey Carbery
Andrew Conway
Keith Earls
Chris Farrell
Robbie Henshaw
Dave Kearney
Rob Kearney
Ian Keatley
Kieran Marmion
Stuart McCloskey
Luke McGrath
Conor Murray
Johnny Sexton
Jacob Stockdale
Darren Sweetnam