Sport Connacht Rugby

Sunday 17 February 2019

'I would be lying if I said I wasn't' - Tom Farrell hoping for Ireland call-up as Schmidt names Six Nations squad

5 January 2019; Tom Farrell of Connacht is tackled by Chris Farrell of Munster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 13 match between Connacht and Munster at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
5 January 2019; Tom Farrell of Connacht is tackled by Chris Farrell of Munster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 13 match between Connacht and Munster at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Connacht head coach Andy Friend has said that his scrum-half Caolin Blade and centre Tom Farrell are fired up and ready to answer Ireland's call if Joe Schmidt includes them in his Six Nations squad today.

Farrell, who was drafted into Irish training camps in November and at Christmas, has played his way into contention with a string of impressive displays since being brought back to Ireland from second-tier rugby in England.

Blade, who admitted a couple of weeks ago that he didn't know where he stood in the national plan and had not heard from Schmidt, has come into contention following injuries to Luke McGrath and John Cooney.

A native of Monivea in Co Galway, the 24-year-old has been superb for Connacht this season, especially when taking over when Kieran Marmion underwent surgery after the win over the All Blacks.

Farrell and Blade will hope to hear from the Irish management today and Friend said the pair are ready to step up if needed.

"I think both have been outstanding for us this year, there has been a few others who have been pretty good too. So we'll wait and see what Joe and his selectors pick. We'd be really, really proud of the fact if they did get selected and it wouldn't surprise me to be honest.

"They're ready mate. They would definitely step up and they'd do Ireland proud," said the Australian.

Farrell, who made his Connacht debut two years ago this week against Zebre after being drafted in by Pat Lam to solve a mid-season injury crisis, is hoping for big news today.

"Obviously I am, I would be lying if I said I wasn't," said Farrell. "Have I heard anything yet, no, but I have had previous exposure in November and again at Christmas for that short one- or two-day camp.

"It gave me a taste of it and a sense of what it would be like in there, and made me a bit hungrier to get in there. I am hoping obviously," said the former Irish U-20.

Meanwhile, Connacht have confirmed the signing of former Ulster loosehead prop Paddy McAllister. The 29-year-old will link up with the Westerners in the summer as he brings his four-year stint with Gloucester to an end.

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