Updated: Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 20:29 | Comments
Joe Schmidt has named seven uncapped players in an extended 44-man Ireland squad to contest the RBS 6 Nations.
Cardiff Blues back-five forward Robin Copeland, who will join Munster in the summer, leads the list of new additions for head coach Schmidt.
The former Leinster boss has also selected Connacht’s New Zealand-born prop Rodney Ah You, Robbie Diack, Rob Herring, Martin Moore and Jordi Murphy up front, with Kieran Marmion the sole uncapped recruit to the backline.
A number of players currently injured or returning from injury will remain with their provinces, including Richardt Strauss, Donnacha Ryan, Roger Wilson, Tommy Bowe, Simon Zebo, Declan Fitzpatrick and Craig Gilroy. A number of these players are expected to return for Six Nations action.
There is also the injured group of Sean O’Brien, Stephen Ferris, Mike Sherry and Stuart Olding who will be unavailable in the longer term.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt explained the make-up of the panel, saying: “As always, a number of the selections were very tight.
“Following on from the Guinness Series, there is an experienced core of players in the squad who will offer continuity, as well as some new additions who have been selected with an eye to the future.
“With Robin Copeland returning to play in Ireland next season it will be an opportunity for him to impress during the training week, while some of the younger or less experienced players such as Rob Herring, Iain Henderson, Rhys Ruddock, Kieran Marmion and Felix Jones have turned in some very positive performances to earn spots in the squad.”
Ireland will open their Six Nations campaign by hosting Scotland at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday, February 2.
Rodney Ah You (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues)*
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Robbie Diack (Malone/Ulster)*
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
Rob Herring (Ballinahinch/Ulster)*
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Mike McCarthy (Leinster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)*
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)*
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)
Damian Varley (Garryowen/Munster)
Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht)*
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
*Denotes uncapped player
Live and exclusive radio coverage of Leinster v Ospreys on Game On from 7pm on Friday 17 January on RTÉ 2fm and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).
Live and exclusive radio coverage of Leicester v Ulster on Saturday Sport from 2:45pm on Saturday 18 January on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).