Joe Schmidt names extended Ireland Squad for RBS Six Nations 2019

Connacht's Jack Carty is rewarded for his improved performances this season with a cal up to the extended squad.

Irish squad announcement – Carlton House

Joe Schmidt has this afternoon named his 38 man squad for Ireland’s upcoming defence of their RBS Six Nations crown. 

The Grand Slam champions start with a home match against England on Saturday February 2nd, followed by a trip to face Scotland in Murrayfield on Saturday 9th. A trip to Rome awaits on Sunday 24th, before a two-week rest ahead of a home game against the French on March 10th. The campaign ends with St. Paddy’s weekend trip to Cardiff on March 16th.

The main talking points from the squad announcement are the inclusion of the uncapped Connacht trio of Caolin Blade, Jack Carty and Tom Farrell, as well as a surprise recall to the squad for Ultan Dillane ahead of teammate Quinn Roux.

Caolin Blade will provide additional cover at scrum-half for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad.

Schmidt’s hand has been forced to a certain extent by injuries, particularly at scrum-half, where injuries to Kieran Marmion, Luke McGrath and John Cooney has left an opening for a back up to Conor Murray. Caolin Blade has been rewarded for his great form for Connacht in Marmion’s absence with a call-up to the squad. However, the fact that Ulster’s John Conney has also been named would indicate his back spasm injury is not as serious as previously feared. Murray himself missed the autumn International series due to injury and hasn’t featured for Ireland since their series win in Australia in June.

Jack Carty is a surprise inclusion as third choice out-half ahead of Leinster’s Ross Byrne. Carty is having the best season of his career out west and his quicker distribution and improved kicking accuracy may have just given him the edge.

Tom Farrell is the third of the uncapped Connacht trio. He was initially signed from Bedford Blues as injury cover by Pat Lam during his last season in charge. He has grown in stature with every game and although a man of the match performance against Munster in the recent InterPro’s brought him to national attention Farrell was on Joe Schmidt’s radar well before that, having been brought into Ireland camp during the Autumn Series.

The injury to the aforementioned Luke McGrath sees him ruled out for the entire Six Nations. Robbie Henshaw, Kieran Marmion and Sean O’Brien are all back in training and should play some part in the tournament, Iain Henderson has also been named in the squad which would indicate his recovery is ahead of schedule. Devin Toner missed Leinster’s victory over Toulouse last weekend but is fit to take his place in the squad. However, Dan Leavy who last featured for Leinster in their great escape over Connacht before Christmas is yet to return to the fold.

The squad will travel to Quinto de Lagos in Portugal on Monday for some warm weather training prior to setting up camp at Carlton House ahead of their opening game against England.

The extended 38 man squad is as follows: 

(In alphabetical order – *denotes uncapped player)

Will Addison (Ulster)

Bundee Aki (Connacht)

Rory Best (Ulster)

Tadhg Beirne (Munster)

Caolin Blade (Connacht)*

Joey Carbery (Munster)

Jack Carty (Connacht)*

Jack Conan (Leinster)

Andrew Conway (Munster)

John Cooney (Ulster)

Sean Cronin (Leinster)

Ultan Dillane (Connacht)

Keith Earls (Munster)

Chris Farrell (Munster)

Tom Farrell (Connacht)*

Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)

Cian Healy (Leinster)

Iain Henderson (Ulster)

Robbie Henshaw (Leinster)

Rob Kearney (Leinster)

Dave Kilcoyne (Munster)

Jordan Larmour (Leinster)

Jack McGrath (Leinster)

Jordi Murphy (Ulster)

Sean O’Brien (Leinster)

Peter O’Mahony (Munster)

Andrew Porter (Leinster)

Rhys Ruddock (Leinster)

Conor Murray (Munster)

Garry Ringrose (Leinster)

James Ryan (Leinster)

John Ryan (Munster)

Niall Scannell (Munster)

Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)

C.J. Stander (Munster)

Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)

Devon Toner (Leinster)

Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

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