Autumn Nations Series: Simon Zebo returns to Ireland squad

Simon Zebo charges upfield against Japan in June 2017
Simon Zebo charges upfield against Japan in June 2017

Simon Zebo is back in an Ireland squad for the first time since 2017 as part of a 38-strong panel for the Autumn Nations Series.

The versatile Munster back is set to make his playing comeback in the Dublin games against Japan, New Zealand and Argentina next month.

Ulster pair Nathan Doak and Jacob Stockdale miss out but forward Iain Henderson is included.

The squad includes uncapped Leinster pair Dan Sheehan and Ciaran Frawley.

Ireland start against Japan on 6 November and host the All Blacks a week later before completing their triple-header at a full capacity Aviva Stadium on 21 November against Argentina.

Back up to speed

"It has been a short lead in to this international window but that is the challenge, to get back up to speed quickly and build on the performances from the Six Nations and the Summer Tests," said Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.

"This is the start of an exciting period for the group as we begin to build towards the Rugby World Cup in France.

"In September we got together and mapped out what was coming up in this window, the exciting fixtures that lay ahead in the next 12 months and beyond that the opportunities to improve as a group over the next five windows we will have together.

"In a few weeks' time we will face an exciting and well coached Japan team who showed in July what a dangerous team they are. New Zealand dominated the Rugby Championship, losing just one game, while Argentina are battle hardened from playing the southern hemisphere's 'Big Three' week in week out over the past two months.

"It would be fantastic to play in front of a full house at the Aviva Stadium. We had small crowds back in for the games in July and even that made a huge difference to the team and the atmosphere in the stadium."

Ireland squad for 2021 Autumn Nations Series

Backs: Bundee Aki (Connacht), Robert Baloucoune (Ulster), Harry Byrne (Leinster), Joey Carbery (Munster), Craig Casey (Munster), Andrew Conway (Munster), Keith Earls (Munster), Ciaran Frawley (Leinster), Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster), James Hume (Ulster), Hugo Keenan (Leinster), Jordan Larmour (Leinster), James Lowe (Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Conor Murray (Munster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Johnny Sexton (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Forwards: Ryan Baird (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Gavin Coombes (Munster), Ultan Dillane (Connacht), Caelan Doris (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Tom O'Toole (Ulster), Andrew Porter (Leinster), James Ryan (Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Nick Timoney (Ulster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

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