Ireland squads -- the ins and outs
There is a shortage of centres and he also provides cover at out-half, but there were options to trump this particular loyalty card, led by Luke Fitzgerald.
A leader in the Leinster squad but not as dominant this season as he has been in the past, while Peter O'Mahony and Chris Henry have been flying for Munster and Ulster.
A warrior for Leinster, but at 34 and with an ongoing Achilles problem, his cover duties could have been filled by Dan Tuohy or Devin Toner.
Still a quality player but out of form, whereas Paul Marshall is oozing it.
Has seized his chance with Leinster. Fully deserves to start for the Wolfhounds to prove that he is the third best 10 in the country.
Has played superbly for Leinster this season, moving ahead of Fionn Carr in the pecking order.
Prop has done well in tough circumstances for Connacht.
BJ Botha's understudy with Munster and, while still a work in progress, he has shown promise.
Luke Fitzgerald (pictured)
He should have been included in Six Nations squad in recognition of his superb return to form and then released for the Wolfhounds.
In electric form, that he hasn't been included in either squad is incredible.
Versatility and form deserved higher reward.
Will benefit from training with the senior squad but consistent excellence in the Munster back-row deserved more.
Move from Connacht to Leinster has pushed him down the pecking order.
A chronic lack of specialist open-sides in the country, yet he cannot get a run of games with Ulster to prove his credentials.
Made it to the World Cup but the amiable giant is left to focus on Sale as Ireland look to the future.
Another World Cup tourist, veteran is now on emergency-only duty.
Brian O'Driscoll, David Wallace, Darren Cave, Felix Jones, Jerry Flannery, Eoin Griffin, Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan.