5 Big Talking Points As Andy Farrell Names His First Ireland Squad For The Six Nations

Big announcement.

New Ireland boss Andy Farrell named his first Ireland squad for the Six Nations this afternoon with no fewer than five uncapped players called up as the former defence coach looks to the future.

Johnny Sexton meanwhile replaces the recently retired Rory Best as captain with a number of veteran players including Sean Cronin, Rhys Ruddock, Rob Kearney and Jordi Murphy all omitted.

Here are five talking points.

The Leinster academy invasion.
Leinster’s incredible academy continues to bear fruit with the likes of Caelan Dorris, Ronan Kelleher and Max Deegan joining Jordan Larmour and James Ryan in the squad.

Ulster lads rewarded for form.
The northern province have been in incredible form this season and that has been rewarded with the likes of  Will Addison, Jack McGrath and John Cooney all rewarded with call-ups, along with uncapped duo Billy Burns and Tom O’Toole.

Sexton named captain.
It was always going to be a two-way battle between Peter O’Mahony and Johnny Sexton and Farrell has gone for the former World Player of the Year to replace the recently retired Rory Best. Sexton will likely retain the role for the next couple of seasons before someone like James Ryan is handed the role.

Munster lads suffer.
Niall Scannell has missed out on selection with Munster on a poor run of form this season. As has Jean Kleyn, who was a controversial choice ahead of Devin Toner for the World Cup. But the pair have switched places under Farrell, with the new boss opting for experience in the lineout.

Development players.
Following in the footsteps of Eddie Jones who has brought in the likes of Marcus Smith to come in and train with England in recent seasons, Farrell has named four development players to train with Ireland throughout the Six Nations. Ryan Baird, Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne and Will Connors will no doubt benefit hugely from the experience.

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