Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt has named 36 players (16 backs and 20 forwards) in his squad for the opening two rounds of this year’s NatWest 6 Nations Rugby Championship.
The Irish will begin their campaign in Paris when they visit Stade de France in round 1 on Saturday 3rd February. Their opening home fixture of the championship will be against Conor O’Shea’s Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 10th February.
In announcing his squad, Schmidt admitted that a number of players are unavailable due to various injuries, namely Finlay Bealham, Jamie Heaslip, Seán O’Brien, Rhys Ruddock, Tommy O’Donnell, Luke Marshall, Garry Ringrose, Jared Payne, Craig Gilroy and Niall Scannell.
The interesting name in Schmidt’s list is arguably the uncapped Leinster man Jordan Larmour who has had a terrific season thus far with the eastern province. He is the only player without international experience named for the 6 Nations, while the once-capped pair of Munster’s Chris Farrell and Connacht’s Bundee Aki, both of whom made their Ireland debuts in last November’s Guinness Autumn International Series, are also included in Schmidt’s squad.
IRELAND Squad (2018 NatWest 6 Nations Championship – Rounds 1 & 2):
Backs (16) –
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 2
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 6
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 6
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 62
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 2
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 31
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 78
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster) 7
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) uncapped
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 18
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 32
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 6
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 59
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 68
Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 3
Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 4
Forwards (20) –
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 106 (captain)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 5
Seán Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 56
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 11
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 19
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 73
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 34
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 22
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 4
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 42
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 18
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 42
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 3
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 3
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 4
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 11
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 18
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 53
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 9
Wales v Scotland Principality Stadium, Saturday, February 3, 2.15pm.
France v Ireland Stade de France, Saturday, February 3, 4.45pm (Irish time).
Italy v England Stadio Olimpico, Sunday, February 4, 3pm (Irish time).
Ireland v Italy Aviva Stadium, Saturday, February 10, 2.15pm.
England v Wales Twickenham, Saturday, February 10, 4.45pm.
Scotland v France Murrayfield, Sunday, February 11, 3pm.
France v Italy Orange Velodrome (Marseille), Friday, February 23, 8pm (Irish time).
Ireland v Wales Aviva Stadium, Saturday, February 24, 2.15pm.
Scotland v England Murrayfield, Saturday, February 24, 4.45pm.
Ireland v Scotland Aviva Stadium, Saturday, March 10, 2.15pm.
France v England Stade de France, Saturday, March 10, 4.45pm (Irish time).
Wales v Italy Principality Stadium, Sunday, March 11, 3pm.
Italy v Scotland Stadio Olimpico, Saturday, March 17, 12.30pm (Irish time).
England v Ireland Twickenham, Saturday, March 17, 2.45pm.
Wales v France Principality Stadium, Saturday, March 17, 5pm.