GUINNESS PRO12 leads the way in the autumn internationals
5 November 2014 12:21pm
By Charlie Talbot-Smith
With the rugby world descending on Europe for this month's autumn internationals, 119 players from the GUINNESS PRO12 have been selected for the best squads on the planet.
That is more in the initial squads than any other world league, beating Super Rugby that has 98 selected, 91 from the Premiership and 83 from the Top 14.
Players from Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Connacht make up 36 of Ireland's 37-man squad, with Racing Metro's Jonathan Sexton, who will return to reigning champions Leinster from next season, the only player included from outside of the GUINNESS PRO12.
Ulster's utility-back Jared Payne is available for Ireland for the first time thanks to the three year residency rule, and Connacht pair Darragh Leader and Nathan White, Munster lock Dave Foley and Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan makes up the uncapped players in the squad.
24 of Wales' 34-man squad for their autumn clashes with Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa come from the four PRO12 regions of Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys.
Current table toppers Ospreys provide eight players, including British & Irish Lion Alun Wyn Jones, Scarlets also provide eight while Cardiff Blues have four, including skipper Sam Warburton, and Dragons three.
For Scotland all but nine of Vern Cotter's 33-man selection are from the GUINNESS PRO12, with the in-form Glasgow Warriors making up the vast majority of the squad.
21 of the Italian 32-man squad come from Benetton Treviso and Zebre for their encounters with Samoa, Argentina and South Africa.
Canada have four GUINNESS PRO12 representatives for their tests with Namibia, Samoa and Romania and Ospreys' back row Tyler Ardron is their Test captain.
Ulster's Ruan Pienaar's involvement with South Africa will depend on passing a fitness test this week ahead of clashes with Ireland, England, Italy and Wales.
Samoa have called up Albert Anae (Treviso) and Teofilo Paulo (Cardiff Blues), while Glasgow Warriors' Folau Niua will turn out for the USA.