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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

FORWARDS (20)

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

BACKS (16)

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

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