NEW Ireland coach Andy Farrell has named a 35 player squad which will be captained by Johnny Sexton for the upcoming 2020 Guinness Six Nations Championships.
There are five uncapped players named in the squad, including Ulster’s Billy Burns and Tom O’Toole and the Leinster trio Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher.
The coaching group have also named four development players - Ryan Baird, Robert Baloucoune, Harry Byrne and Will Connors - who will train with the squad at the warm weather camp in Portugal and in the lead up to the opening game against Scotland.
Andy Farrell, Ireland head coach commented to Irishrugby.ie: "At the get together in December we challenged the players to put their hands up for selection and the coaches are really pleased with the performances in recent weeks.
"As we progress through the Championship we will look to select sides that we believe are best suited to the task at the weekend. We will keep a close eye on the provincial performances in the PRO14 not just for the players in the squad that will transition back for game minutes but also for those players that were part of the wider selection discussions over the past few weeks.
"We have appointed Johnny as captain for the Six Nations Championships. You can see what it means to him and the enthusiasm he will bring to the role. He has been developing as a leader for a number of years with Ireland, Leinster and the Lions and he will be a positive voice for the group.
"The provinces are doing a great job in developing young talent and we feel there is an opportunity in the national set-up to support that work and get a better insight into some young players that have put in strong performances for their provinces. Ryan, Will, Harry and Robert will be the first ones to join the squad in this development role."
Ireland open their 2020 Guinness Six Nations campaign against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday February 1 before welcoming Wales to the Aviva a week later on Saturday February 8.
Forwards (19) - Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps, Caelan Doris (UCD/Leinster) 0 caps, Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 14 caps, Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 41 caps, Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 95 caps, Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 1 cap, Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 53 caps, Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 8 caps, Ronan Kelleher, (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps, Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 36 caps, Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Ulster) 56 caps, Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) 2 caps, Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 64 caps, Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) 0 caps, Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps, James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps, CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 38 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 67 caps, Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
Backs (16) - Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) 4 caps, Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 23 caps
Billy Burns (Ulster) 0 caps, Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps, Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 18 caps, John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 8 caps, Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 82 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 9 caps, Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 40 caps, Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 19 caps, Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 21 caps, Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 19 caps, Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 78 caps, Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 28 caps, Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 88 caps, Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 25 caps
Development Players - Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster), Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ulster), Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster), Will Connors (UCD/Leinster)
Fixtures - IRELAND v Scotland, Saturday 1st February, 2020, Aviva Stadium, KO 16:45; IRELAND v Wales, Saturday 8th February, 2020, Aviva Stadium, KO 14:15; England v IRELAND, Sunday 23rd February, 2020, Twickenham Stadium, KO 15:00; IRELAND v Italy, Saturday 7th March, 2020, Aviva Stadium, KO 14:15; France v IRELAND, Saturday 14th March, 2020, Stade de France, KO 20:00.