Andy Farrell has announced his first Six Nations squad:
LH Props (3) – Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath
TH Props (3) Tadhg Furlong, Andrew Porter, Tom O’Toole*
Hookers (3) – Dave Heffernan, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher*
Locks (4) – James Ryan, Devin Toner, Iain Henderson, Ultan Dillane.
Backrowers (6) – Jack O’Donoghue, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris*, Max Deegan*, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander.
Scrum-halves (3) – Conor Murray, John Cooney, Luke McGrath.
Out-halves (3) – Johnny Sexton (C), Ross Byrne, Billy Burns*.
Centres (4) – Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Chris Farrell.
Wings (4) – Dave Kearney, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Jacob Stockdale
Full-backs (2) Jordan Larmour, Will Addison.
Development players (4) – Will Connors*, Harry Byrne*, Ryan Baird*, Robert Baloucoune*.
Farrell has added four players that he want to be part of the test squad environment- what he has termed Development Players – Will Connors, a young Leinster backrow tyro whose tackle rate in his few matches this season raised a lot of eyebrows. Ryan Baird – former U20s lock with Leinster, who is dubbed as the new James Ryan – or his test partner within the next couple of years. Harry Byrne, the 20-year old younger brother of Ross Byrne – also at Leinster – who looks like he might be better than the older brother. And Robert Baloucoune, an Ireland 7s player, playing on the wing in Ulster’s senior squad and a real flyer.
To bring in all these players, Farrell has dropped from selection or not considered:
Rob Kearney, Sean Cronin, Rhys Ruddock, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Jean Kleyn, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty.
Disappointed hopefuls include: Mike Haley*, Jamison Gibson-Park*, Rhys Marshall*, Stuart McCloskey, Marty Moore, JJ Hanrahan*, Caolin Blade*.
Injured players Carbery, Leavy, Conan, Beirne, and Roux are on the long-term injury list. Kleyn may join them once results of a neck scan today are known.
Whisper it, but could Farrell field a starting XV without a single Munster player at some point during the tournament?
F: Healy, Herring, Furlong, Ryan, Henderson, Deegan, vDF, Doris
B: Cooney, Sexton, Kearney, Aki, Ringrose, Stockdale, Larmour
Reps: Kelleher, Kilcoyne, Porter, Dillane, Stander, Murray, Byrne, Conway.