Sunday 25 June 2017

ireland's six nations squad

FRONT-ROWS (9): Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Rory Best (Capt, Ulster), Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Jack McGrath, James Tracy (all Leinster), Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan (all Munster).

SECOND-ROWS (5): Ultan Dillane (Connacht), Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan (both Munster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster);

BACK-ROWS (8): Jack Conan, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Leavy, Sean O'Brien, Josh van der Flier (all Leinster), Tommy O'Donnell, Peter O'Mahony, CJ Stander (all Munster).

HALF-BACKS (5): Luke McGrath, Johnny Sexton (both Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht).

CENTRES (5): Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose (both Leinster), Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey (both Ulster), Rory Scannell (Munster).

OUTSIDE BACKS (8): Tommy Bowe, Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble (all Ulster), Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo (all Munster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Tiernan O'Halloran (Connacht).

Breakdown

By position

Forwards: 22

Backs: 18

By province

Leinster 15 (37.5%)

Munster 13 (32.5%)

Ulster 8 (20%)

Connacht 4 (10%)

Average age: 27

Average caps: 26

Oldest player: Rory Best 34, 100 caps

Youngest player: Garry Ringrose 21, 3 caps

THE NEW FACES

Andrew Conway

Has been in squads before, but the former Blackrock College prodigy has rarely come into an international window in such good form and his ability in the air will have caught Joe Schmidt's eye. Faces tough competition, but is one of the most natural finishers in the squad.

Niall Scannell

First involvement is richly deserved and he is perhaps the most likely of the three new men to get a cap in the tournament. Sean Cronin's injury has opened a door for him, and while James Tracy has had more in-camp experience, Scannell (top left) has the form.

Rory Scannell

Was 24th man against Australia having been called into the set-up late on in November and has continued to show excellent form since. Scannell (bottom left) may also deputise at out-half at training as Sexton recovers, but finds his way into the team blocked by the formidable presence of Robbie Henshaw.

COMPILED BY RUAIDHRI O'CONNOR

Irish Independent

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