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Billy Burns in for Ireland’s Autumn Nations Cup squad

Ireland fly-half Billy Burns

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named a 34-man squad which includes the uncapped trio of Billy Burns, James Lowe and Shane Daly for the Autumn Nations Cup.

Ulster fly-half Burns is preferred to Connacht’s Jack Carty as the third-choice No.10 behind captain Johnny Sexton and Ross Byrne.

The former Gloucester back left Kingsholm in 2018 for Ulster and made no secret of his ambitions to pull on the green.

“You ask any player and the ambition is there to play at international level. First and foremost though I signed to play well for Ulster,” said Burns in September 2018.

New Zealand-born Leinster wing James Lowe has passed the criteria to quality for Ireland on residency grounds, having been a part of Farrell’s training squad for the Six Nations finale last month.

Lowe, the PRO14’s leading tryscorer, joined Leinster back in 2017 from the Chiefs in Super Rugby and claimed PRO14 and Champions Cup winners’ medals in his first season with the province.

He joins a back-three core that welcomes back Keith Earls to full fitness following a back injury, with Munster teammate Shane Daly also included as one of the three uncapped players.

Talismanic Ulster scrum-half John Cooney has been omitted by Farrell once again as Conor Murray, Kieran Marmion and Jamison Gibson-Park are preferred.

Cooney missed out on selection for the end of the Six Nations after also deputising for Conor Murray earlier in the year, limited to three appearances as a replacement despite his drawing plaudits for his form for Ulster in the Champions Cup.

Ireland begin their Autumn Nations Cup campaign by hosting Wales in Dublin next Friday (November 13), before travelling to play England at Twickenham (November 21), hosting Georgia (November 28) and then playing one more play-off Test in Dublin against one of France, Scotland, Fiji or Italy (December 5).

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