ANDY Farrell named his squad for this year’s Six Nations yesterday with some notable omissions and inclusions
Yesterday, Andy Farrell named his Irish squad ahead of next month’s Six Nations campaign with nine Munster men included. And after a brilliant Autumns Nations Series, Ireland will be full of confidence ahead of next month’s tournament.
Farrell looks to have finally found his style of play as the Irish head coach as the team’s performances in the Autumn Nations Cup were nothing short of prolific. Farrell’s side managed to defeat all the teams they encountered with their 29-20 victory over the All-Blacks the standout result.
Many faces who were in the match day squad for the All-Blacks feature in the Six nations panel.
Jonathan Sexton captains the side for a Six Nations Championship once again, with his experience in the biggest of games making him a shoo-in despite his age.
Peter O’Mahony was once again picked and like Sexton, O’Mahony is an aging player but his grit and determination are so often crucial to the national side. His prowess at the lineout and breakdown are also very valuable to Farrell.
One of the more noticeable omissions of the squad was Leinster’s James Lowe. Lowe got off to a mixed start for Ireland but his performances in the Autumn proved he could be an ace on the wing. Scoring two tries in his last three games for the winger is an impressive feat, including one against New Zealand
Interestingly Joey Carberry find himself with a spot in the side even though he is currently out with injury. Carberry must be close enough to his return that Farrell believes he will be able to look to the Munster man.
From a Munster point of view, Simon Zebo’s exclusion from the national team is a heavy one with the Cork man showing glimpses of his talent since his return to Ireland.
Farrell has also made the call to give places to uncapped players. Ulster’s Michael Lowry and Connacht’s Mack Hansen will be looking to make their first caps in the hopes of a long illustrious career with the Irish national side.
Munster’s Craig Casey and Gavin Coombes were again called up as Farrell gives youth its chance. The pair’s fine provincial form is truly shining through to the top brass of Irish Rugby.
Most recently Coombes has been a vital piece of the puzzle for Munster. From the number eight position, Coombes seems to affect every area of the pitch. When Casey is giving the starting nine jersey, he rarely disappoints due to his work ethic and immense tempo.
Leinster find themselves being heavily represented with sixteen players from the province included.
It comes as no surprise as the blue province have been one of the tops sides to beat in club rugby. With the likes of top players like Tadgh Furlong, Ryan Baird and Jack Conan the Leinster contingent certainly packs a punch.
Reflecting on the whole squad there seems to be strong mix of youth and experience. Sexton and his fellow veterans should be able to guide the younger players to great success.
The likes of the younger brigade including Gary Ringrose, Baird, Coombes and Casey can help push the tempo to create fast exciting rugby.
Irelands first match in the upcoming Six Nations Championships is against an injury hit Wales side.
The game takes place on the 5th of February in the Aviva Stadium and will be televised on RTE and Virgin Media.
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