Ireland outline season’s plans

Ireland have outlined their schedule for their 2009 tour and this year's autumn internationals. [more]

Ireland outline season’s plans

Ireland have outlined their schedule for their 2009 tour and this year’s autumn internationals.

Declan Kidney’s men will tour North America at the end of May, playing fixtures against Canada on May 23 and the United States on May 30.

The games in North America take place between the Heineken Cup Final and the Lions tour of South Africa, meaning Kidney will be without many of his frontline players.

However, Kidney insists this will ultimately be beneficial for the Irish game as he looks to add strength in depth to his first-team squad.

"This plan for the year allows us to spread the net across a greater number of players and to get to know them in the best way possible, on the training field and in international level games,” explained Kidney.

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Ireland also announced November internationals against Australia, Fiji and Lions’ opponents South Africa, with a fourth match penciled in for a venue possibly outside of Ireland.

"With a total of 14 games that the national management will be involved in this year, it serves two purposes.

"One,  it will give us the chance to work with players, in a pressure situation, who may be just below the more established members of the squad at this point in time and two, it gives the players the exposure which is important for their development at the highest level."

Kidney also stated that members of the senior coaching team will form part of the staff for Ireland A’s Churchill Cup campaign taking place in North Carolina and Ohio this June.

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