5 Talking Points As Ireland Squad Named For Opening Rounds Of The Six Nations

All roads lead to Paris.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt today named a 36-man squad for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations. Schmidt has named one uncapped player in his squad, with Leinster prodigy Jordan Larmour making the cut, while there’s no room for the in-form Tadhg Beirne.

Sean Cronin, Rory Scannell, Quinn Roux, Dan Leavy and Josh van der Flier have all earned recalls, with the likes of James Tracy, Stuart McCloskey and Tommy O’Donnell all dropped.

Here are five talking points from the announcement.

Larmour is in.
We all kind of half expected this, but we were never too sure. Whether you agree or not with the timing of his call-up, there’s absolutely no denying Larmour’s raw talent. He’s been electric for Leinster over the last few weeks, and can fill the ‘x-factor’ void left by Munster’s Simon Zebo, who once again is omitted due to his impending move to France. Larmour likely won’t make the matchday squad for the France game, but no doubt will get a crack at the Italians.

No Tadhg Beirne.
Once again we all pretty much expected this, but we’re still pretty disappointed. With Zebo being cast out before he leaves, why hasn’t Beirne been brought in before he arrives? There was nothing stopping Schmidt calling the Scarlets man up with a move to Munster on the way. The in-form Ireland second-row, and he doesn’t even make the squad, yet Quinn Roux does? Madness if you ask me.

Seanie is back.
No not Sean O’Brien, but rather Sean Cronin, who has been called back up to the squad. His November omission baffled everyone, but it didn’t affect his game, with the Limerick man in fine form. An explosive option off the bench, he’s back where he belongs and that’s in the Irish set-up.

McCloskey out, Scannell in.
Two inside centres, but two very different players. To be fair Rory Scannell is in better form, and it’s always a plus when you’ve got provincial combinations in the squad, with Chris Farrell also named. McCloskey seems destined to be a bit part player in the Ireland squad, with Schmidt never really warming to him.

No John Cooney.
Once again we probably saw this coming as Schmidt likes going with his tried and tested for the Six Nations, with Marmion preferred. Luke McGrath is undoubtedly the number two option at nine, but Cooney’s performances perhaps warranted a spot in the squad.

Have you other talking points you’d like to discuss? Sound off in the comments.

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