Picking Ireland’s Starting XV For Their Six Nations Opener As Andy Farrell Names New-Look Squad

Farrell era.

A new era officially began for Irish Rugby yesterday when new head coach Andy Farrell named his first squad ahead of next month’s Six Nations Championship.

The former defence coach has already made some big calls, omitting the likes of Rob Kearney, Rhys Ruddock, Sean Cronin, Jordi Murphy, Jack Carty, Niall Scannell and Jean Kleyn, who all played a role at the World Cup in Japan.

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There are five uncapped players named in his squad with Ulster’s Billy Burns and Tom O’Toole and the Leinster trio of Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher all making the cut.

The likes of John Cooney, Ultan Dillane, Jack McGrath, Will Addison, Ross Byrne, Dave Kearney and Dave Heffernan have also earned recalls as Farrell looks to reinvigorate a side that endured a horrific 2019.

But while he has made a number of changes to the overall make-up of the squad will he be as ruthless when it comes to naming his starting XV? Up first for Farrell is a visit of Scotland who will be looking to exact revenge following their World Cup defeat to the men in green.

Sure there will be changes, but how extensive will they be? Looking at his squad as a whole it appears he has picked most of his players on form, rather than reputation, something Joe Schmidt wasn’t exactly renowned for.

With that here’s the squad we reckon he might pick for that all-important opener against Gregor Townsend’s side, providing everyone below is fit and ready come February 1.

Potential Ireland XV vs Scotland

15. Jordan Larmour
14. Andrew Conway
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Johnny Sexton
9. John Cooney

1. Cian Healy
2. Ronan Kelleher
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. CJ Stader
7. Peter O’Mahony
8. Caelan Doris

Ireland 2020 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures & Kick-Off Times:

Ireland v Scotland, Saturday, February 1, 2020, Aviva Stadium, KO 16:45
Ireland v Wales, Saturday, February 8, 2020, Aviva Stadium, KO 14:15
England v Ireland, Sunday, February 23, 2020, Twickenham Stadium, KO 15:00
Ireland v Italy, Saturday, March 7, 2020, Aviva Stadium, KO 14:15
France v Ireland, Saturday, March 14, 2020, Stade de France, KO 20:00