Rory Best gets captaincy as four uncapped players make it into Ireland Six Nations squad

Ireland begin their Six Nations defence against Wales on February 7th

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Joe Schmidt has named Rory Best as Ireland captain for the Six Nations as Joe Schmidt unveiled his squad for the defence of the championship.

The head coach has also included four uncapped players in the 35-man panel.

That quartet is Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey, Munster back-row CJ Stander, Connacht's Ultan Dillane and Leinster's Josh van der Flier.

Tommy Bowe, Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony and Dan Tuohy all miss out due to long-standing injuries.

"As always there were a number of tight decisions, especially with a number of players not being available to play in recent weeks," said Schmidt.

"Stalwarts such as Mike Ross, Cian Healy and Chris Henry are all likely to return to play over the coming weeks and they, along with some of the other players not included will potentially return to the squad post these first two matches.

"There are a few new faces but at the same time we have resisted the temptation to include some of the very promising youngsters, allowing them a bit more time to develop as well as the opportunity of further game time with their provinces."

 

 

Ireland's squad for the tournament

Forwards: Rory Best, Sean Cronin , James Cronin, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Herring, Mike McCarthy, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Sean O'Brien , Tommy O'Donnell, Rhys Ruddock, Donnacha Ryan , CJ Stander, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, Josh van der Flier, Nathan White 

Backs: Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, David Kearney, Rob Kearney, Ian Madigan, Kieran Marmion, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Jared Payne, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Simon Zebo.