5 Winners & 5 Losers From Joe Schmidt’s Ireland Squad Announcement

Big calls all round.

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.

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Here are five winners & five losers from the announcement.

Winners

Jordan Larmour.
Joe Schmidt has wasted no time in calling up the Leinster prodigy. Will likely get a chance against Italy. Can he make the step up so soon? Only time will tell.

Sean Cronin.
The Ard Scoil Ris hooker has earned a recall and deservedly so. An incredible impact sub that has been in fine form for Leinster this season.

Fergus McFadden.
For once fans can’t be aggrieved that the Leinster man has made the squad. A favourite under Schmidt his inclusion has been questionable at times, but no doubt has earned his call-up this time round.

Rory Scannell.
The Munster centre impressed over the summer against USA and Japan and was perhaps unlucky to miss out on a spot in the squad for the November series. Playing well this season and should get some game time.

Quinn Roux.
The Connacht lock has been a questionable inclusion in a number of squads, but gets the nod over Kieran Treadwell. Perhaps his last chance at impressing in green before Tadhg Beirne arrives and takes his spot. A huge opportunity for him to show Schmidt he’s back and he’s going to stay.

Losers.

Darren Sweetnam.
The Munster winger has been overtaken by Fergus McFadden, and loses out due to the return of Keith Earls. Impressed in November but has struggled to hold down his provincial spot this season due to the emergence of Alex Wootton.

Tiernan O’Halloran.
The Connacht man must have thought his chance was about to come with Simon Zebo signed a deal to move to France. But along came Andrew Conway and then Jordan Larmour. Another man who just isn’t favoured by Schmidt.

Tadhg Beirne
The Scarlets lock is the in-form Irish second-row right now and can consider himself very unlucky to have missed out. A much better option than Quinn Roux, he perhaps should have been fast tracked in early considering he’s already committed to moving back to Ireland.

Stuart McCloskey.
Recalled in November, but cast straight back out again. The Ulster centre hasn’t played as well as he probably would have liked this season, and will find it hard to get back into the squad given the depth now available in the centres.

Simon Zebo.
Still playing some great rugby for Munster, the talented fullback will no doubt be disappointed at not getting to play in perhaps one more Six Nations before he leaves. It’s understandable why he’s being left out, but at the same time it’s kind of unfair as he hasn’t left yet.