Joe Schmidt calls up Garry Ringrose and Stuart McCloskey for Six Nations training camp
Published 03/01/2016 | 15:28
Emerging Leinster stars Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier are among the new faces at Ireland's 24-hour, pre- Six Nations training camp which convenes at Carton House this evening.
Joe Schmidt has assembled around 48 players at the Kildare venue for the first get-together since the World Cup exit to Argentina in October and has added a small number of new faces to his extended squad.
Ulster's Stuart McCloskey is among 11 representatives from the northern province who will travel to Kildare today, along with centre partner Luke Marshall who has not featured for Ireland since June, 2014. It is understood that loosehead prop Kyle McCall is not involved.
It is the inclusion of Ringrose which is set to cause the biggest stir after legendary former outside centre Brian O'Driscoll called on Schmidt to start the Leinster centre against Wales in the first game of his side's Championship defence against Wales.
The 20-year-old has impressed on his limited outings for the province this season, starring in their win over Munster in Thomond Park last week.
A former nominee for the World U-20 player of the year award, he has been hotly tipped to become a full international and his time may come sooner than expected after his inclusion.
Van der Flier has been the breakout star for Leinster this season and offers a fresh option for Schmidt at openside, while McCloskey has been a major game-breaker for Ulster.
Ultan Dillane is the other uncapped player confirmed to have been invited to Carton House for the pre-tournament camp, one of just four Connacht players included despite their excellent start to the season.
The IRFU do not release the full list of players for such camps, but will unveil an extended squad for the Six Nations - as well as a new assistant coach to replace Les Kiss - in the coming weeks.
Ireland begin their campaign against Wales in Dublin on February 7, before visiting Paris and London in the following weeks.