Ireland name squad to face the All Blacks, Japan and Argentina

Ireland recalled Simon Zebo after a four-year exile when head coach Andy Farrell named the wing in a 38-man squad announced Wednesday for the November internationals.

Ireland name squad to face the All Blacks, Japan and Argentina

Ireland recalled Simon Zebo after a four-year exile when head coach Andy Farrell named the wing in a 38-man squad announced Wednesday for the November internationals at home to Japan, New Zealand and Argentina.

The 31-year-old Zebo has impressed in the URC since leaving Paris-based Racing 92 ahead of the current European campaign to rejoin Irish province Munster on a one-year contract.

Zebo, who won the last of his 35 Ireland caps in 2017, effectively went into international exile when he joined Racing 92 from Munster in 2018 as the Irish Rugby Football Union generally avoids considering overseas-based players for Test selection.

Sexton likely to play 100th Test for Ireland

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton, who missed the victories over Japan and the United States in July, has returned to the squad and the gifted fly-half could win his 100th cap for his country in their end-of-year opener against the Japanese on November 6.

South African teams still finding their feet in the URC

Six of the Ireland players who were involved in the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa are back in the squad, with Bundee Aki, Conor Murray, Iain Henderson, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong and Tadhg Beirne set to feature against Japan, New Zealand (November 13) and Argentina (November 21).

Centre Robbie Henshaw hasn’t been included in the squad but the IRFU said the Leinsterman would continue his recovery from a foot injury “under the supervision of the Ireland medical team”.

Farrell has selected uncapped Leinster hooker Dan Sheehan and centre Ciaran Frawley in his squad, while six players who made their Test debuts in July have also been included.

“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 Farrell.

Ireland squad

Backs (18) 

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, capt), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Forwards (20)

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) 

Fixtures (all at Lansdowne Road, Dublin)

Nov 06: Ireland v Japan (1300 GMT)

Nov 13: Ireland v New Zealand (1515 GMT)

Nov 21: Ireland v Argentina (1415 GMT)

Source : The South African More   

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Taliban strike journalists at Kabul women’s rights protest

"The situation is that the Taliban don't respect anything: not journalists - foreign and local - or women," she said

Taliban strike journalists at Kabul women’s rights protest

The Taliban struck several journalists to prevent media coverage of a women’s rights protest in Kabul on Thursday. 

A group of about 20 women marched from near the ministry of education to the ministry of finance in the Afghan capital.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS 

Wearing colourful headscarves they chanted slogans including: “Don’t politicise education”, as traffic drove by shortly before 10 am.

The women held placards saying: “We don’t have the rights to study and work”, and” “Joblessness, poverty, hunger”, as they walked with their arms in the air.

TALIBAN STRIKES 

The Taliban authorities allowed the women to walk freely for around an hour and a half, AFP journalists saw.

However, one foreign journalist was struck with the butt of a rifle by one Taliban fighter, who swore and kicked the photographer in the back as another punched him.

At least two more journalists were hit as they scattered, pursued by Taliban fighters swinging fists and launching kicks.

READ: Nigerian youths plan protest memorials a year after bloody crackdown

MARCH IN RISK 

Zahra Mohammadi, one of the protest organisers, told AFP the women were marching despite the risks they face.

“The situation is that the Taliban don’t respect anything: not journalists – foreign and local – or women,” she said. 

“The schools must reopen to girls. But the Taliban took this right from us.” 

NOT TO FEAR TALIBAN

High school girls have been blocked from returning to classes for more than a month, while many women have been banned from returning to work since the Taliban seized power in mid-August.

“My message to all girls and women is this: ‘Don’t be afraid of the Taliban, even if your family doesn’t allow you to leave your home. Don’t be afraid. Go out, make sacrifices, fight for your rights’,” Mohammadi said. 

“We have to make this sacrifice so that the next generation will be in peace.”

RETURN TO AFGHANISTAN

Children walked alongside the protest in downtown Kabul, although it was unclear if they were part of the organised group.   

Some Taliban fighters policing the march wore full camouflaged combat gear, including body armour, helmets and knee pads, while others were wearing traditional Afghan clothing.

Their weapons included US-made M16 assault rifles and AK-47s.

Unthinkable under the hardline Islamist group’s last rule in the 1990s, Afghans have staged street protests across the country since the Taliban returned to power, sometimes with several hundred people and many with women at forefront.

But a ban on unauthorised demonstrations has meant protests against Afghanistan’s new masters have dwindled.

© Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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