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Schmidt names Ireland squad for RBS 6 Nations.

Schmidt names Ireland squad for RBS 6 Nations.

Joe Schmidt has opted for a blend of youth and experience after naming his Ireland squad for the opening two rounds of the 2017 RBS 6 Nations.

“As always there were some difficult decisions."

Joe Schmidt has opted for a blend of youth and experience after naming his Ireland squad for the opening two rounds of the 2017 RBS 6 Nations.

Schmidt includes three uncapped players in brothers Niall and Rory Scannell and the Munster duo are joined by provincial teammate Andrew Conway in the 40-man squad.

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It also features ten British & Irish Lions, including skipper Rory Best, who won his 100th cap for Ireland in November, and leads the side with Jamie Heaslip named as his vice-captain.

They have also been boosted by the news that Jonathan Sexton – fly-half in 2013 for all three Lions Tests against Australia – is included despite limping off in Leinster's Friday night draw with Castres. 

And ahead of an opening match away to Scotland in Edinburgh and with Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland sure to be watching on, Schmidt – whose side won the Championship in 2014 and 2015 – admitted it had not been easy narrowing the squad down to 40.

He said: "It has been good to watch the players over the past two months and great to see many of them doing so well.
 

3 uncapped players named. Welcome to the #TeamOfUs Andrew Conway, Niall Scannell & Rory Scannell. pic.twitter.com/AioyoAeoR3

— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 23, 2017


“As always there were some difficult decisions but we feel that the group is a good mix with a number of key players having good experience and a number of newer players having gained valuable experience and confidence during the summer tour to South Africa and the recent autumn series.”
  
Ireland squad for opening two rounds of RBS 6 Nations: 

Forwards
Finlay Bealham (Connacht)
Rory Best (Ulster) (c)
Jack Conan (Leinster)
Ultan Dillane (Connacht)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)
Cian Healy (Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Leinster) (vc)
Iain Henderson (Ulster)
Billy Holland (Munster)
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster)
Dan Leavy (Leinster)
Jack McGrath (Leinster)
Sean O'Brien (Leinster)
Tommy O'Donnell (Munster)
Peter O'Mahony (Munster)
Donnacha Ryan (Munster)
John Ryan (Munster)
Niall Scannell (Munster)
CJ Stander (Munster) 
Devin Toner (Leinster)
James Tracy (Leinster) 
Josh van der Flier (Leinster)
 
Backs
Tommy Bowe (Ulster)
Andrew Conway (Munster)
Keith Earls (Munster)
Craig Gilroy (Ulster)
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster)
Paddy Jackson (Ulster)
Rob Kearney (Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Connacht)
Luke Marshall (Ulster)
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster)
Luke McGrath (Leinster)
Conor Murray (Munster)
Tiernan O'Halloran (Connacht)
Garry Ringrose (Leinster)
Rory Scannell (Munster)
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
Simon Zebo (Munster) 
 

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