Six Nations: Kidney calls up young, uncapped stars to Ireland squad ahead of Wales match
IRELAND coach Declan Kidney has included five uncapped players among a 32-man squad named ahead of Sunday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales.
Wings David Kearney and Simon Zebo are present after scoring a try apiece in the Irish Wolfhounds' 23-17 defeat by England Saxons on Friday.
Centre Eoin O'Malley, back row Peter O'Mahony and prop Brett Wilkinson also feature.
All five have been promoted from the Wolfhounds' squad, alongside capped internationals full-back Denis Hurley, lock Dan Tuohy and back rows Chris Henry and Rhys Ruddock.
Scrum-halves Tomas O'Leary and Isaac Boss have failed to make it into the 32, while second row Leo Cullen has also been omitted from the squad ahead of an operation.
Mr Kidney names the team to face Wales at lunchtime on Wednesday with the key talking point being who will play at outside centre in place of Brian O'Driscoll.
O'Driscoll has been ruled out of the entire Six Nations after undergoing shoulder surgery, leaving Keith Earls, Tommy Bowe, Fergus McFadden and Andrew Trimble to compete for the number 13 jersey.
Jonathan Sexton is likely to be preferred ahead of Ronan O'Gara at fly-half while Eoin Reddan and Conor Murray are in contention at scrum-half.
The only other area of debate is in the second row where Donncha O'Callaghan could see his long-term partnership with Paul O'Connell, skipper in O'Driscoll's absence, broken up.
Forwards: R Best (Ulster), T Bowe (Ospreys), T Court (Ulster), S Cronin (Leinster), S Ferris (Ulster), C Healy (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster), C Henry (Ulster), S Jennings (Leinster), S O'Brien (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), P O'Mahony (Munster), M Ross (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), R Ruddock (Leinster), D Tuohy (Ulster), B Wilkinson (Connacht).
Backs: G D'Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster), D Hurley (Munster), R Kearney (Leinster), D Kearney (Leinster), F McFadden (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), E O'Malley (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster), P Wallace (Ulster), S Zebo (Munster).