The Big Talking Points As Andy Farrell Names 35-Man Ireland Squad For The Six Nations

Back in green.

Ireland boss Andy Farrell named a 35-man Ireland squad today for their remaining 2020 Six Nations games with Italy and France in the coming weeks and there’s a lot to dissect.

Farrell named six uncapped players in his squad with the likes of Will Connors, Ryan Baird and Shane Daly all earning call-ups.

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Ireland will play Italy at home this month before travelling to Paris to take on France next month with the championship still up for grabs providing they get maximum points in both games.

Here are the big talking points.

Uncapped prospects.
Both England and Wales named a number of uncapped players in their squads this week and the hope for Irish fans was that Farrell would do the same. And he delivered.

Ryan Baird, Ed Byrne, Will Connors, Shane Daly, Hugo Keenan and Jamison Gibson Park have all been named as the Ireland boss looks to bring some fresh blood in.

Fans will be hoping Baird, in particular, gets some game time following his impressive form for Leinster over the last few months.

No John Cooney.
Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for John Cooney since the restart. The Ulster scrumhalf was taken off at half-time in their PRO14 semi-final win over Edinburgh and was dropped to the bench for the final.

He was recently named as Ulster’s Player of the Year and made the PRO14 Dream Team but there’s no place for him in Andy Farrell’s squad. A huge blow for him having been originally named to start the Italy game before the pause but no doubt he’ll come back stronger.

Training recruits.
Farrell has also used the upcoming camp as an opportunity to bring James Lowe ahead of his eligibility in November as well as a number of youngsters. Craig Casey in particular is an exciting addition with big things expected from the Munster nine.

Here’s the full list of training recruits:
Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) uncapped
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) uncapped
James Lowe (Leinster) uncapped
James Tracy (Leinster/UCD) 6 caps
Fineen Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster) uncapped

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Big Dev misses out.
Devin Toner is another senior player who has missed out on selection with Farrell opting to bring Connacht’s Quinn Roux back into the fold instead. But with Toner now 34 perhaps it’s time to start looking ahead with the likes of Ryan Baird waiting in the wings.

No Tadhg Furlong.
The Leinster tighthead suffered a fresh injury setback last week and his absence will be a real blow to Farrell. Ireland will be hoping they can get him back for the backend of the year and the Autumn Nations Cup.

But it’s a big opportunity for guys like Andrew Porter and John Ryan to impress.