The Winners & Losers As Ireland Squad Named For Six Nations
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Andy Farrell today named his first Six Nations squad as Ireland head coach with no fewer than five uncapped players named.
Ulster’s Billy Burns and Tom O’Toole and the Leinster trio Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher were all named with veterans such as Jordi Murphy, Rhys Ruddock, Rob Kearney and Sean Cronin all missing out on selection.
Johnny Sexton will captain a new-look Ireland side that also sees the likes of John Cooney, Jack O’Donghue, Jack McGrath, Devin Toner and Will Addison recalled. Other notable absentees include Jean Kleyn and Niall Scannell.
Here are the big winners and the losers following today’s big announcement.
The towering lock earns an immediate recall following his shock omission from Ireland’s World Cup squad by former boss Joe Schmidt. Tadhg Beirne is out injured for the tournament with Ultan Dille earning a recall over Jean Kleyn alongside Iain Henderson and James Ryan.
Big things are expected from the young Ulster prop who has been in serious form this season.
The versatile back was unlucky to miss out on World Cup selection having just returned from injury in the warm-ups. A fan favourite that can operate almost anywhere in the backline.
Ireland’s form player is finally back in green. But has he done enough to overtake starting nine Conor Murray? Many will say yes.
One of the hottest prospects in Europe right now the young Leinster forward is joined by Ronan Kelleher and Max Deegan is a Leinster-heavy pack.
With the likes of Dorris and Deegan coming through it looks like Ruddocks’ Ireland career could be over. A solid player over the years that has captained Ireland on several occasions.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Cronin has always been an excellent impact replacement for Rory Best but with the former captain now retired, Cronin, won’t be given the opportunity to go from deputy to Sherriff. His throwing has let him down in the past and it looks like Farrell isn’t up for taking a chance.
The writing was on the wall for the ageing fullback when he missed out on selection for a training camp over the Christmas. Kearney has been an excellent servant for Ireland over the years but it’s clear his time is up. Time to hand over a jersey knowing he left it in a better place than we he started.
A man who has been so unlucky with injury over the last few years is once again victim to the ever-incredible Leinster academy. A move to Ulster has reinvigorated his career, with the Leinster academy train hasn’t stopped.
Another man who has been in incredible form this season, McCloskey has never really been given a fair chance by Ireland. But with the current crop of centres, it’s tough. Aki, Ringrose, Henshaw and Farrell are all serious ballers.