Much of Counties recent connection to Irish rugby has been about Bundee Aki's progress and his anticipated test entry next year.

The midfield back has been banging out consistent performances for Connacht since leaving the Chiefs in 2014 and resetting his international rugby targets.

Now Sean Reidy, a flanker who left Counties for club rugby with Ulster about the same time, has been picked for Ireland's tour to South Africa. Hooker Rory Best will captain the team which includes Kiwis Jared Payne and Reidy and plays three tests next month.

Reidy qualifies through his grandfather who came from County Kerry and reports have commented regularly on his strong form for his club. He plays openside or No 8 and recently signed a two year extension at the same club where Payne, Charles Piutau and Rodney Ah You play their rugby.

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Reidy's promotion to the Irish touring squad, even with loosie Sean O'Brien unavailable, came as a shock to most observers who thought other flankers Tommy O'Donnell and Chris Henry would be the replacements.

"Touring South Africa will be arduous to say the least so we've attempted to prioritise players who are currently as close to full fitness as possible," Schmidt said.

"In what is always a difficult balancing act, we've taken a long term view with a number of players who need a rest or will benefit from a full pre-season."