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James Lowe remains with Ireland squad as preparations ramp up for Italy clash

Ireland squad Italy

Less than a week to go.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has trimmed his extended squad as his side begin their final preparations ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Italy.

Ireland resume their 2020 Six Nations campaign with a clash with Italy at the Aviva Stadium before facing France a week later in Paris to complete the championship.

Ireland are still in with a chance to win the title but they will likely need the full five points against Italy to be within a shout on the final day.

There have been some small changes to the overall squad as Ireland enter an important week of preparation.

Leinster’s Harry Byrne and James Tracy and Munster’s Craig Casey and Fineen Wycherley have returned to their respective provinces. These four players were not included in the official squad but trained as additional players last week. Dave Kearney, who wasn’t listed as an additional player, but did train with the squad last week, has also returned to Leinster.

Another player in that category, James Lowe, will remain in camp. Lowe qualifies to play for Ireland on residency grounds once the Six Nations has been completed. He will be eligible for the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup which is due to begin in November.

Ireland confirmed last week that Chris Farrell and Peter O’Mahony would not join up with the squad immediately due to the duo being close contacts with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Munster. Both Farrell and O’Mahony have now completed their periods of isolation and have entered camp.

The IRFU have also confirmed that all players within the Ireland squad are able to train today which is good news on the fitness of Johnny Sexton, Andrew Porter and Ronan Kelleher ahead of Italy who were all carrying knocks as they entered camp.

Ireland take on Italy on Saturday in the Guinness Six Nations with a kick-off time of 3.30 pm.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email seanmc@punditarena.com or on Twitter