Ireland have been boosted by the news scrum-half Conor Murray and left wing Dave Kearney have been given the go-ahead to train fully this week
Munster’s Murray was a doubt due to concerns over a neck injury and Kearney was thought to be an outsider given a blow to his shoulder against Wasps in the Champions Cup.
They should be joined by Luke Fitzgerald, a late withdrawal from the Wolfhounds due to a stomach complaint.
There is not the same degree of certainty over Jamie Heaslip (shoulder) and Eoin Reddan (hamstring), though they are scheduled to partake in training by Tuesday
Fergus McFadden (rib) and Craig Gilroy (concussion) join Leinster’s Jack Conan and Michael Bent in being released back to their province.
Hooker Rob Herring has been released back to Ulster as Schmidt reduces his Six Nations squad down to 38 ahead of preparations for Italy on Saturday with Nathan White the only uncapped member.
Cian Healy has been retained as he works his way back from his hamstring injury.
SIX NATIONS SQUAD: Forwards (20): R Best, J Cronin, S Cronin, R Diack, C Healy, J Heaslip, I Henderson, M McCarthy, J McGrath, M Moore, J Murphy, S O’Brien, P O’Connell, T O’Donnell, P O’Mahony, M Ross, D Ryan, R Strauss, D Toner, N White*. Backs (18): I Boss, T Bowe D Cave, G D’Arcy, K Earls, L Fitzgerald, R Henshaw, F Jones, D Kearney, R Kearney, I Keatley, I Madigan, K Marmion, C Murray, J Payne, E Reddan, J Sexton, S Zebo.
*Denotes uncapped player