By Kenneth Fox
The squad for the remaining Six Nations games has been revealed, with a number new additions being announced.
While the squad is captained by veteran fly-half Johnny Sexton, there are six uncapped players: Ryan Baird, Ed Byrne, Will Connors, Shane Daly, Hugo Keenan and Jamison Gibson Park.
Baird and Connors have been involved in national camps before but it will be a first time with the national squad for the other uncapped players.
Daly and Keenan have both spent time in the Ireland 7s squad and have built on this experience to secure starting berths for their province, the IRFU said.
The Leinster trio of Caelin Doris, Jack Conan and Will Connors have been picked in the back row while Conor Murray and Gibson Park make up the two fly halfs.
Tadgh Furlong is one of the biggest omissions, as last month he picked up a calf injury which had him sideline for a number of weeks. John Cooney also misses out on the Irish squad after having a stellar 2020 season.
The IRFU said in addition to today’s annoucement: Harry Byrne, Craig Casey, James Lowe, James Tracy and Fineen Wycherley will train with the squad next week at IRFU High Performance Centre in Dublin.
Ireland take on Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 24th October before facing France in Paris the following Saturday (31st).
Ireland currently sit fourth on the Six Nations table one point behind Scotland and 4 points behind England and France who have all played an extra game.
Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell commented today saying “There has been a huge effort right across Irish Rugby to ensure that the professional game could return safely and that work is greatly appreciated by the national management. We have protocols in place to safeguard the welfare of the players and staff and are looking forward to completing the Six Nations Championships.
“We have two competitions to play in over the coming months but will focus first on a strong finish to the 6 Nations Championship.”