New Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has announced his squad for the upcoming 2020 Six Nations.
Farrell has named a 35-man squad which includes five uncapped players; Billy Burns, Tom O’Toole, Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher.
With Rory Best retiring at the end of the World Cup, one of the big decisions that Farrell had to make was who would be the new captain. Unsurprisingly, Johnny Sexton has taken up that mantle with the out-half being one of the most experienced players in the team.
Farrell also announced that four ‘development players’ will train with the squad during the warm weather training camp in Portugal and in the build-up to the opening game against Scotland – Ryan Baird, Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne and Will Connors.
“At the get-together in December we challenged the players to put their hands up for selection and the coaches are really pleased with the performances in recent weeks,” Farrell said.
“As we progress through the Championship we will look to select sides that we believe are best suited to the task at the weekend.
“We will keep a close eye on the provincial performances in the PRO14 not just for the players in the squad that will transition back for game minutes but also for those players that were part of the wider selection discussions over the past few weeks.
“We have appointed Johnny as captain for the Six Nations Championship, you can see what it means to him and the enthusiasm he will bring to the role. He has been developing as a leader for a number of years with Ireland, Leinster and the Lions and he will be a positive voice for the group.
“The provinces are doing a great job in developing young talent and we feel there is an opportunity in the national set-up to support that work and get a better insight into some young players that have put in strong performances for their provinces.
“Ryan, Will, Harry and Robert will be the first ones to join the squad in this development role.”
Ireland Six Nations Squad
Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps
Caelan Doris (UCD/Leinster) 0 caps
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 14 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 41 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 95 caps
Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 1 cap
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 53 caps
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 8 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 36 caps
Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Ulster) 56 caps
Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) 2 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 64 caps
Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) 0 caps
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 38 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 67 caps
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) 4 caps
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 23 caps
Billy Burns (Ulster) 0 caps
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 18 caps
John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 8 caps
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 82 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 9 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 40 caps
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 19 caps
Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 21 caps
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 19 caps
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 78 caps
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 28 caps
Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 88 caps CAPTAIN
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 25 caps
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ulster)
Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster).
Ireland take on Scotland and Wales at home back-to-back before Farrell’s side travel to Twickenham to take on England two weeks later.
Ireland follow up that game with a home clash with Italy before travelling to Paris to take on France on the final day of the tournament.
Some of the competing nations have announced their respective squads today with new Wales head coach Wayne Pivac announcing a 38-man squad with five uncapped players while Gregor Townsend included six uncapped players in his squad.
More to follow…