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Darren Cave makes cut for Six Nations openers

By Niall Crozier

Darren Cave is starting to feel wanted now.

Ireland's Six Nations squad has been whittled down to 34 – and the Ulster star is still very much in Joe Schmidt's plans for the championship.

The 26-year-old centre is one of eight Ravenhill players in the squad for the forthcoming matches against Scotland and Wales in Dublin.

Several weeks ago Cave suggested that perhaps his face didn't fit in the Irish set-up, but that notion has now been dispelled.

Cave (right) has worked hard since the Irish players went into camp last week and his defensive contribution to the Wolfhounds' weekend success in Gloucester impressed the new Ireland coach.

But Craig Gilroy will not be involved in the Aviva Stadium openers. Gilroy, along with fellow winger Simon Zebo, have only returned to action in recent weeks after injury and the door to this year's Six Nations has not been fully closed to them.

Both youngsters, and Ravenhill's injured flier Tommy Bowe, may well be considered for selection later in the championship.

The other Ulster players who made the 34 are Rory Best, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Dan Tuohy and Andrew Trimble.

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