Joe Schmidt has announced his Ireland squad for their Six Nations opener against England.Three uncapped players have been named as part of the squad, with Connacht trio Jack Carty, Tom Farrell and Caolin Blade all part of the panel.
Here's the Ireland squad for the opening rounds of @SixNationsRugby
3 uncapped players and several 'tight calls' says Head Coach Joe Scmidt.#TeamOfUs #Ireland #ShoulderToShoulder #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/FbfH3jNS2G
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 16, 2019
Jack Carty is the most eye catching name of the bunch, having been given the nod ahead of Leinster's Ross Byrne, who has missed out on selection. He was named as man-of-the-match after Connacht's heart breaking loss at Leinster last month, putting in an outstanding overall performance.
"Connacht hit straight back. What a game Caolin Blade is having, what a game Jack Carty is having just outside him. The half-backs have been absolutely exceptional." Connacht lead Leinster 26-12 after 49 minutes thanks to Blade's try. #GuinnessPRO14 #LEIvCON pic.twitter.com/3UOHfWPuLe
— eir Sport (@eirSport) December 22, 2018
He has formed an excellent partnership with Caolin Blade, who has benefitted here from Luke McGrath's recent injury, and both are certainly deserving of their place in Joe Schmidt's squad.
A former member of the Leinster academy, centre Tom Farrell has also put in some eye-catching displays this season, with the trio's inclusion an indication of the strong season Connacht have put together thus far.
Elsewhere, Irish rugby fans will no doubt be thrilled to see Sean O'Brien amongst the names on the list as the Carlow native steps up his recovery from injury. Robbie Henshaw was also a major doubt for Ireland's opening two fixtures, but he is set to return to action ahead of schedule.
Ireland face England on Saturday, 2 February in the Aviva Stadium, with kick-off at 4.45pm.