Ireland rest Best and Sexton for Italy Test in Chicago

Joe Schmidt has left captain Rory Best and vice-captain Johnny Sexton out of his squad for Ireland’s opening autumn Test against Italy in Chicago.

A reduced 26-man panel travel to the US on Monday with several of Schmidt’s most experienced players rested.

Peter O’Mahony, Rob Kearney and Keith Earls are among the other names to be left at home.

Ireland take on Argentina, New Zealand and the USA in consecutive weeks at the Aviva Stadium following the Italy Test.

Best is one of four Ulster players to have been named in the initial 42-man squad that will not travel to Chicago along with Iain Henderson, Rob Herring and Stuart McCloskey.

Half-back spots up for grabs

Uncapped Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne will compete with Joey Carbery for the number 10 jersey in Sexton’s absence.

With Sexton assured of his place as first choice fly-half the Italy game is likely to give some indication as to who will deputise for the Leinster captain in the games against Argentina and the reigning world champions New Zealand.

Connacht’s Kieran Marmion will not travel meaning John Cooney and Luke McGrath will vie for the starting scrum-half berth.

More to follow.

Ireland squad for Italy Test in Chicago

Forwards: F Bealham (Connacht), T Beirne (Munster), J Conan (Leinster), S Cronin (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), J Murphy (Ulster), A Porter (Leinster), Q Roux (Connacht), R Ruddock (Leinster), James Ryan (Leinster), N Scannell (Munster), D Toner (Leinster), J van der Flier (Leinster).

Backs: W Addison (Ulster), A Conway (Munster), D Sweetnam (Munster), J Larmour (Leinster), J Stockdale (Ulster), G Ringrose (Leinster), B Aki (Connacht), R Byrne (Leinster), J Carbery (Munster), , J Cooney (Ulster), L McGrath (Leinster).

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