No Zebo or Lowe but two uncapped players named in Ireland's Six Nations squad

Ulster’s Michael Lowry and Connacht’s Mack Hansen have both been included
No Zebo or Lowe but two uncapped players named in Ireland's Six Nations squad

Mack Hansen of Connacht has been named in the Ireland squad. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jack Carty has been restored to the Ireland squad for next month’s Guinness Six Nations while Andy Farrell on Wednesday named two uncapped players for the championship in Mack Hansen and Michael Lowry.

Johnny Sexton will once again captain his country having earned his 100th Ireland cap against Japan last November with in-form Connacht star Carty joining the skipper as one of three fly-halves alongside Munster’s Joey Carbery, who is still recovering from a fractured elbow sustained last month and has been ruled out by his province for this Sunday’s European clash with Wasps.

Ulster lock Kieran Treadwell is another fresh face in the 37-man Ireland group named by head coach Farrell having won the most recent of his three Test caps under Joe Schmidt against Fiji in November 2017.

Ireland will kick off their 2022 campaign in 17 days with a home match against Wales at Aviva Stadium on Saturday, February. There follows a trip to Paris to play France the following Saturday, a home game with Italy on Sunday, February 27, before the final two rounds, against England at Twickenham on March 12, and home to Scotland on March 19.

“In November we challenged the group to get up to speed quickly so that the team could perform at international level,” Farrell said. “The same will apply for this Six Nations campaign, we need to be at our best against Wales on the opening weekend.

“We have a strong squad with competition for places across the board, there is a nice blend of experienced internationals and guys who have had their first taste of this level in the past 12 months. The games in November gave us a good foundation to build on and areas where we know we will have to improve.

“It will be an exciting Championship with so many strong squads and impressive performances across the board during the Autumn.” Carty, 29, won his 10th and most recent Test cap at the 2019 World Cup, coming off the bench against Russia a week after having started in Sexton’s absence in the shock defeat to tournament hosts Japan.

Omitted from Ireland squads since Farrell succeeded Schmidt after the World Cup, he was called into Ireland camp for the final week of last November’s Autumn Nations Series following Sexton’s knee and ankle injuries sustained in the victory over New Zealand but did not make the matchday squad for the last game of 2021 at home to Argentina with Carbery starting and Harry Byrne coming off the bench as covering fly-half.

Byrne did not make the first squad of 2022 and other omissions from last November’s camp are fellow Leinster backs Ciaran Frawley and James Lowe as well as Munster wing Simon Zebo.

Lowe’s absence is due to muscle injury sustained in training yesterday and comes just as the New Zealand-born wing was looking comfortable at Test level following defensive flaws early on. The tackle he made on Rieko Ioane was a pivotal moment in the win over the All Blacks, earning a match-winning turnover.

Both of the two uncapped players have trained with the national squad in recent months with Ulster full-back Lowry joining the camp for last summer’s Tests in July and Connacht wing Hansen during the first week of the Autumn Nations Series in November.

Connacht flanker Cian Prendergast, 21, will also join the squad for a pre-championship training camp in Portugal as a development player.

All games will be available on free-to-air television in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. ITV (NI) will broadcast all of Ireland’s games, RTÉ will broadcast the games against Wales and England while Virgin will broadcast the games against France, Italy and Scotland.

IRELAND (squad Six Nations): Backs (17) Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians), Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen), Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf), Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht), Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon), Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen), Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 96 caps Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 12 caps Mack Hansen (Connacht) uncapped Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers), James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge), Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD), Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College), Michael Lowry (Ulster/Banbridge), Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen),  Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD), Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College).

Forwards (20) Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University), Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers), Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne), Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere), Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster), Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf), Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf), Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy), Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians), Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution), Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch), Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD), James Ryan (Leinster/UCD), Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne), Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge), Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena), Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD).

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