ANDREW TRIMBLE has been surprisingly omitted from a bloated 33-man Ireland Six Nations squad announced by head coach Declan Kidney.
The Ulster winger, who has 49 international caps, is the highest profile player to be jettisoned by the Ireland coach. Trimble was afforded what was a final audition in the Ireland Wolfhounds team on Friday night but clearly didn't do enough to impress Kidney and his staff.
Trimble was also cut loose during the November internationals when he was dropped from the squad for the final game against Argentina in favour of his Ulster team-mate Craig Gilroy. With 33 players named it would have been expected the 28-year-old would have been recalled for the week's training at least.
But Declan Kidney has shown a ruthless streak in recent times. He stripped Brian O'Driscoll of the captaincy against the player's wishes and has also excluded from this week's squad a number of players who impressed with the Wolfhounds.
It had been expected that room would be found in the squad for Trimble's physicality as Ireland will be facing two monster wingers in George North and Alex Cuthbert when they play Wales in the opening Six Nations championship game this weekend. Kidney has, instead, opted for the attacking capabilities of those who came to the fore in November – Simon Zebo and Gilroy – while also including Leinster pair Fergus McFadden and Luke Fitzgerald for his back three options.
The starting team and replacements for the game against Wales will be announced at lunchtime tomorrow, with those included travelling to Cardiff on Thursday ahead of Saturday's game.