Ireland leave out Simon Zebo from autumn internationals squad

Simon Zebo
Simon Zebo's decision to leave Munster appears to have cost him his Ireland place

Utility back Simon Zebo has been left out of the Ireland squad just days after it was revealed he is leaving Munster at the end of the season.

Zebo is expected to sign for a club in France, having reportedly been offered terms the Irish RFU cannot match.

His omission has opened the door for wingers Adam Byrne and Jacob Stockdale who are included in the 38-man squad.

Connacht centre Bundee Aki, now eligible through the residency rule, is also selected by coach Joe Schmidt.

Aki, Leinster's Byrne and Munster backs Chris Farrell and Darren Sweetman are the four uncapped players in the panel.

New Zealand-born Aki, who has Samoan parents, has impressed consistently since joining Connacht in 2014, helping the province lift the 2016 Pro12 title.

Experienced Ulster wingers Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe have been left out as Schmidt and his coaching staff look to the future.

Other notable omissions include Leinster hooker Sean Cronin as Ulster's Rob Herring is named while Luke Marshall misses out on a centre berth with his Kingspan Stadium club-mate Stuart McCloskey among the inclusions.

Ireland play South Africa (11 November), Fiji (18 November) and Argentina (November 25) in their autumn matches at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

"In what we anticipate will be an incredibly physical series, plenty will be demanded of the squad," said coach Schmidt.

"We have retained a core of experienced players but have also included a number of promising players who we hope will acquit themselves well."

Zebo, 27, has scored nine tries in his 35 matches for Ireland.

While the IRFU does not have a definitive policy on the issue of Irish players going abroad, the selection policy has favoured home-based players.

Ireland squad for autumn internationals
Backs: B Aki, A Byrne, J Carbery, A Conway, K Earls, C Farrell, R Henshaw, D Kearney, R Kearney, I Keatley, K Marmion, S McCloskey, L McGrath, C Murray, J Sexton, J Stockdale, D Sweetman.
Forwards: R Best, J Conan, U Dillane, T Furlong, C Healy, I Henderson, R Herring, D Kilcoyne, D Leavy, J McGrath, S O'Brien, T O'Donnell, P O'Mahony, A Porter, R Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, CJ Stander, D Toner, J Tracy, K Treadwell.

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