Joe Schmidt has this week gathered his Irish side for a training camp in Kildare’s Carton House before the players return to their clubs for the new season.
The world’s number three side will take on South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in November and may have a new name to call upon with Bundee Aki soon eligible for citizenship. The Connacht centre has never confirmed whether or not he will play with the national team but it now seems he’s come to a decision.
He and fellow southern hemisphere expat Tyler Bleyendaal were pictured leaving training yesterday in the new Irish training gear.
Couple of new faces in the Ireland training camp. 👀
Thanks Angela Nolan for sending the pics our way. pic.twitter.com/kIzeesbFDu
— martin (@16thman) August 21, 2017
Munster fly-half Bleyendaal will have to wait a little longer than Aki for his Irish debut due to his prolonged arrival at the province back in 2015. The trip to France on the opening day of the Six Nations next year will be the earliest he could make his bow.
They wouldn’t be the first players to come into Schmidt’s squad under the controversial residency rule. CJ Stander and Jared Payne, South Africa and New Zealand born respectively, are now integral parts of the Irish squad.
That rule is set to change in 2021 when players will have to have lived in the country for five consecutive years rather than the current three in order to gain citizenship and be eligible to play.