Four Ulster players named in Ireland Six Nations squad
Four Ulster players have been included in Ireland's squad for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations Championship.
Rory Best, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Henderson and Rob Herring have all been included in Joe Schmidt's 36 man panel while Luke Marshall, Jared Payne and Craig Gilroy have been named amongst the injury list.
Also in the squad is Leinster's uncapped full-back Jordan Larmour, who has scored six tries in 13 appearances this season.
Ireland begin their campaign in France on Saturday February 3 (Kick-off 4.45pm). A week later, Schmidt's side host Italy (kick-off 2.15pm) as Conor O'Shea makes his first visit to the Aviva as Italy Head Coach.
“It’s been great to witness some quality performances from provincial teams over the last seven weeks of European and derby matches, with a number of players performing well," said the Head Coach.
"There were some very tight decisions but it’s great to see some competitive depth in a number of positions.”
Also unavailable through injury are; Finlay Bealham, Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, Rhys Ruddock, Tommy O’Donnell, Garry Ringrose as well as Niall Scannell who is due to return to action in the coming weeks.
The Ireland squad will host a mini-camp in Athlone following the Round 2 fixture against Italy. An open session will take place at Buccaneers RFC on Thursday February 15 ahead of the home game against Wales.
The open session is a ticketed event and tickets can be accessed through Ticketmaster.ie from February 3. Tickets for Ireland open sessions are free but there are restrictions in place to ensure a wide spread of patrons can be accommodated.
Following the Round 3 fixture against the Welsh, the Ireland squad will host a mini-camp in Dublin where a second Open Session will be held at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday 27th February. Tickets for the Aviva Open Session will be available on Ticketmaster.ie on 15th February.
Ireland’s last home fixture of this year’s Championship is against Scotland on Saturday 10th March with the squad’s final game of the tournament taking place seven days later in Twickenham.
Ireland Squad 2018 NatWest Six Nations Championship Rounds 1 & 2
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) c 106 caps
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 5 caps
Sean Cronin (St Mary's College/Leinster) 56 caps
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 11 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 19 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 73 caps
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 34 caps
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3 cap
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 22 caps
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
Jack McGrath (St Mary's College/Leinster) 42 caps
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 18 caps
Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 42 caps
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 3 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 11 caps
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 18 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 53 caps
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 9 caps
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 2 caps
Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 6 caps
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 6 caps
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 62 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 2 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 31 caps
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 78 caps
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster) 7 caps
Jordan Larmour (St Mary's College/Leinster)*
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 18 caps
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 32 caps
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 6 caps
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 59 caps
Johnny Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 68 caps
Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 3 caps
Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 4 caps
Belfast Telegraph Digital