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Connacht's Tom Farrell links up with Ireland squad ahead of All Blacks clash

Leinster wing Adam Byrne also joined the training camp at Carton House in recent days.

CONNACHT CENTRE TOM Farrell has joined Ireland at Carton House this week to train with Joe Schmidt’s squad ahead of Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks.

Although not officially part of Schmidt’s squad, Farrell has linked up with Ireland after a hamstring injury to Robbie Henshaw.

Leinster wing Adam Byrne was another to be brought into Ireland camp in recent days, joining Farrell in gaining valuable exposure.

Tom Farrell breaks free to score his sides second try Farrell has been brilliant for Connacht. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

This represents Farrell’s first involvement with Ireland’s senior squad and is just reward for his superb form for Connacht.

The 25-year-old came through Leinster’s academy system after playing schools rugby with Castleknock College and impressing for the Ireland U20s.

Farrell moved to English Championship side Bedford Blues in 2016 but only spent half a season there as Connacht came calling amidst an injury crisis in their backline.

Having joined the western province midway through the 2016/17 campaign, Farrell quickly set about underlining his quality and earned himself a contract for the 2017/18 season.

And after he made an excellent start to last season, Connacht quickly locked Lansdowne FC man Farrell into a further two-year contract extension.

The midfielder has developed into a key man in Connacht, with his sharp footwork and offloading skills consistently standing out. He sits top of the individual offloading charts in the Guinness Pro14 so far this season with 14. 

Farrell continues to grow as a player under new head coach Andy Friend, with his passing game becoming more influential and his defensive intellect coming to the fore.

Tom Farrell The 25-year-old is a key man at Connacht. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Farrell’s rise continues with this week’s involvement in Ireland camp, where he will learn about life under Schmidt.

With Connacht fans having consistently stated Farrell’s case in terms of international honours, this first step on the journey will be exciting for the player and his supporters.

Farrell joins provincial team-mates Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki at Carton House.

Meanwhile, Leinster wing Byrne returned to the training environment under Schmidt having regained form with his province in recent times.

The 24-year-old made his Ireland debut against Argentina in last year’s November Tests but fell out of the picture due to injuries and a subsequent struggle to move back up the pecking order with Leinster.

Now back in excellent physical condition, Byrne’s confidence is likely to be boosted by this week’s involvement with Ireland and he will hope to continue to build on his good recent form.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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