Ireland picks 24-man Six Nations squad

by Staff Writer

Ireland has relied entirely on last year's Rugby World Cup squad for its initial 24-man squad for the Six Nations.

Although Ireland reached only the quarterfinals in New Zealand before losing to Six Nations rival Wales, coach Declan Kidney has opted to use his experienced players as the basis of his final squad.

But six uncapped players will train with Ireland for a week and Kidney could call upon any of them for the February 5 opener against Wales if they impress.

Kidney also selected a 22-man Wolfhounds squad for a match against England's second-string Saxons and could draft in any of those if required.

"The Wolfhounds game gives myself and the other coaches one final chance to give games to players to see possible options before we settle on our match day 22," Kidney said on Wednesday. "It also gives us the opportunity to have a closer look in training at some of the younger players, rather than bringing in more experienced players.

"It's a new tournament for us and for everybody involved, so irrespective of the highs and lows of the World Cup, it is a fresh and exciting challenge for us."

With captain Brian O'Driscoll ruled out because of injury, Paul O'Connell will lead the side.

Ireland: Backs: Tommy Bowe, Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls, Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray, Ronan O'Gara, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace. Forwards: Rory Best, Tom Court, Sean Cronin, Leo Cullen, Stephen Ferris, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Shane Jennings, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell (captain), Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan. Additional players: Andrew Conway, Paddy McAllister, Ian Nagle, Tiernan O'Halloran, Peter O'Mahony, Simon Zebo.

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