Joe Schmidt names three uncapped players in opening Six Nations squad

Niall and Rory Scannell, along with Andrew Conway are named in the 40-man panel

Joe Schmidt names three uncapped players in opening Six Nations squad

Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has announced a 40-man squad for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations.

Schmidt has name three uncapped players in the squad, with Niall and Rory Scannell along with Munster teammate Andrew Conway in line to feature against Scotland and/or Italy in the opening two weekends of February.

Both Niall and Rory have impressed so far this season for Rassie Erasmus' side, as they have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup. An injury to Sean Cronin, has opened up a potential spot on the bench at hooker for Niall.

Younger brother Rory, has started all six of Munster's Champions Cup pool games. He has also scored two tries in his 14 appearances this season.

If the Scannell brothers are to play together for Ireland, they will be the first brothers to do so since Rob and Dave Kearney played against France in last year's Six Nations.

Dublin-born Conway, who joined Munster from Leinster at the start of the 2013 season, has also been called up for the first time. He has scored five tries this season for the province.

Despite an injury to Johnny Sexton on Friday night, he is named in the squad, alongside Paddy Jackson. There is no place in the squad for Bordeaux's Ian Madigan.

Hooker Rory Best continues as Ireland captain, with Leinster's Jamie Heaslip remaining as vice-captain. Ireland's Six Nations campaign begins with an away match against Scotland on February 4th.

Ireland's Six Nations squad to play Scotland and Italy

Forwards
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 6 caps
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (c) 100 caps
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 1 cap
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 8 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 11 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 62 caps
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (vc) 91 caps
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 28 caps
Billy Holland (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1 cap
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 17 caps
Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 1 cap
Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster) 36 caps
Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster) 44 caps
Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12 caps
Peter O'Mahony (Cork Con/Munster) 37 caps
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 43 caps
John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1 cap
Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) Uncapped
CJ Stander (Munster) 10 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 42 caps
James Tracy (UCD/Leinster) 1 cap
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 5 caps

Backs
Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 67 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster) Uncapped
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 54 caps
Craig Gilroy (Bangor/Ulster) 9 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 24 caps
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 19 caps
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 72 caps
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 9 caps
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster) 9 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 1 cap
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 1 cap
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 53 caps
Tiernan O'Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht) 3 caps
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps
Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) Uncapped
Jonathan Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 63 caps
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 69 caps
Simon Zebo (Cork Con/Munster) 28 caps