Scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park and back-rower Jack Conan will miss Ireland’s two-Test series against world champions South Africa.

First-choice number nine Gibson-Park is ruled out by a hamstring injury, while Leinster team-mate Conan is unavailable due to personal reasons.

Andy Farrell has handed a first senior call up to Ulster lock Cormac Izuchukwu and included uncapped Leinster pair Jamie Osborne and Sam Prendergast in a 35-man squad captained by Peter O’Mahony.

Ireland take on the Springboks on Saturday, July 6 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria and seven days later at Hollywoodbets Kings Park Stadium in Durban.

With full-back Hugo Keenan absent for the tour due to his participation in his country’s rugby sevens squad at the Paris Olympics, Jimmy O’Brien makes a timely return from injury having sat out as Ireland retained the Guinness Six Nations earlier this year.

Hooker Rob Herring is also back after missing the championship triumph but Connacht wing Mack Hansen remains sidelined, while Ulster lock Iain Henderson is out after undergoing toe surgery.

Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade, who has two international caps, benefits from the absence of the influential Gibson-Park.

Ulster Rugby’s Cormac Izuchukwu, centre, is one of three uncapped players in the 35-man squad
Ulster’s Cormac Izuchukwu, centre, is one of three uncapped players in the 35-man squad (Adam Davy/PA)

Ireland have won the last three meetings between the nations, including a 13-8 success during the pool stage at last year’s World Cup in France.

Yet the Springboks went on to retain the Webb Ellis Cup by beating New Zealand, who eliminated the Irish at the quarter-final stage, in the final.

Head coach Farrell said: “Travelling to South Africa to play a Test series against the defending world champions provides no greater test for us, and it is another valuable opportunity for us to further grow and develop from the Guinness Six Nations.

“The group understands the need to hit the ground running, ensuring we are the best version of ourselves for the challenge ahead.”

Ireland beat South Africa during the pool stage of last year's Rugby World Cup
Ireland beat South Africa during the pool stage of last year’s Rugby World Cup (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Ireland’s squad will meet in Dublin on Thursday to prepare for the tour before departing for Johannesburg next Tuesday.

Skipper O’Mahony said: “I am proud to be asked to lead Ireland in South Africa, a country which provides one of the toughest challenges in world rugby.

“As reigning world champions, South Africa will provide the sternest of tests and we know that we will have to perform at a high level to get the results we want.

“There’s a lot of respect and familiarity between both countries in recent years at international and club levels, since they were invited to join the URC (United Rugby Championship) and European Cup competitions, and we know the challenge that awaits.”

Ireland squad for tour of South Africa:

Backs: B Aki (Connacht), C Blade (Connacht), C Casey (Munster), J Crowley (Munster), C Frawley (Leinster), R Henshaw (Leinster), J Larmour (Leinster), J Lowe (Leinster), S McCloskey (Ulster), C Murray (Munster), C Nash (Munster), J O’Brien (Leinster), J Osborne (Leinster), S Prendergast (Leinster), G Ringrose (Leinster), J Stockdale (Ulster).

Forwards: R Baird (Leinster), F Bealham (Connacht), T Beirne (Munster), C Doris (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), C Healy (Leinster), R Herring (Ulster), C Izuchukwu (Ulster), O Jager (Munster), R Kelleher (Leinster), J McCarthy (Leinster), P O’Mahony (Munster, capt), T O’Toole (Ulster), A Porter (Leinster), C Prendergast (Connacht), J Ryan (Leinster), D Sheehan (Leinster), N Timoney (Ulster), J van der Flier (Leinster).