Ireland have added uncapped Ulster hooker Tom Stewart to their Guinness Six Nations squad as injury cover for Ronan Kelleher in the build-up to Saturday’s opening game against Wales in Cardiff.
Stewart, 22, has joined Andy Farrell’s squad at their warm weather training camp in Portugal following a hamstring problem picked up by Kelleher who will have his injury managed by the Irish medical staff for the rest of the week.
Dan Sheehan, Kelleher’s Leinster team-mate, appears set to continue in the Ireland number two jersey this weekend at Principality Stadium having started in eight of the nine Tests since Kelleher picked up an injury against France in Paris 12 months ago.
Stewart’s Ulster team-mate Rob Herring is the other hooker in Farrell’s 37-man squad in Quinta do Lago and has been on the Irish management’s radar for some time having progressed from the Under-20 set-up to this season’s Emerging Ireland tour in South Africa and involvement with Ireland A preparations against the All Blacks XV in November.
He becomes the fifth member of that Emerging Ireland squad which won all three games against South African Currie Cup opposition last autumn to be part of the senior squad for this season’s Six Nations, joining fly-half Jack Crowley, lock Joe McCarthy, centre Jamie Osborne and flanker Cian Prendergast.
Ireland will complete their training camp on the Algarve on Thursday before flying to Cardiff ahead of their opening game against Warren Gatland’s Wales.
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 41 caps Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 14 caps Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 7 caps Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) 2 caps Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 98 caps Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 23 caps Mack Hansen (Connacht) 8 caps Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 25 caps Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Marys College) 30 caps James Lowe (Leinster) 15 caps Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 9 caps Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 100 caps Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 3 caps Jamie Osborne (Leinster/Naas)* Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 47 caps Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 109 caps (c) Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 35 caps
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 8 caps Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 27 caps Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 36 caps Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 33 caps Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 23 caps Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 63 caps Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 121 caps Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 68 caps Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 31 caps Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 18 caps Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 48 caps Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University) 1 cap Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 89 caps Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 4 caps Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps Cian Prendergast (Connacht/Corinthians) 1 cap James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 48 caps Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 13 caps Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch)* Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 45 caps