IRELAND HEAD COACH Joe Schmidt has included in-form Leinster starlet Jordan Larmour in a 36-strong squad for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations next month.
The 20-year-old is the only uncapped member of the squad for matches away to France and at home to Italy, but there are deserved recalls for Fergus McFadden, Sean Cronin and Rory Scannell.
Ulster scrum-half John Cooney has not made the cut despite a run of consistently excellent form in difficult circumstances for Ulster, Schmidt instead keeps faith with Luke McGrath and Kieran Marmion as understudies to Conor Murray.Source: The42.ie/YouTube
Larmour has been in sensational form for Leinster this season, scoring six tries in his 13 appearances electrifying the province’s attacking options with his sublime footwork and evasive running.
McFadden has also benefited from Leinster’s dominance and has hit arguably the best form of his career over the winter months. The Kildare man will hope his recall to the setup will see him bridge a gap of almost two years since his last Test appearance, against Scotland in the 2016 Six Nations.
Joey Carbery is included in the ranks despite having not played since fracturing his wrist in the November Test win over Fiji, but could play some part for Leinster this weekend as they close out their Champions Cup pool away to Montpellier.
The likes of Garry Ringrose (ankle), Sean O’Brien (hip) and Niall Scannell are among those who miss out through injury, but the trio could yet feature later in the tournament if their recovery goes to plan.
As expected, there is no place for Simon Zebo who was also omitted from the November Tests squad after agreeing to join Racing 92 next season.
“It’s been great to witness some quality performances from provincial teams over the last seven weeks of European and derby matches,” Schmidt says.
“There were some very tight decisions but it’s great to see some competitive depth in a number of positions.”
Ireland Squad for opening two rounds of 2018 Six Nations
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) c 106 caps
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 5 caps
Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 56 caps
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 11 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 19 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 73 caps
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 34 caps
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3 cap
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 22 caps
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 42 caps
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 18 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 42 caps
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 3 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 11 caps
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 18 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 53 caps
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 9 caps
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 2 caps
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 6 caps
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 6 caps
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 62 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 2 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 31 caps
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 78 caps
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster) 7 caps
Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster)*
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 18 caps
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 32 caps
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 6 caps
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 59 caps
Johnny Sexton (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 68 caps
Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 3 caps
Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 4 caps
(*Denotes uncapped at international level)
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