Dave Heffernan, Ultan Dillane and Bundee Aki have all been included in Andy Farrell’s first Six Nations squad announced today. Ballina native Heffernan has previously been capped for his country, featuring against the USA in the 2017 summer tour. He was recently included in Andy Farrell’s squad gathering over the Christmas period.

The Ireland Head Coach also confirmed that Leinster’s Johnny Sexton will take over the Ireland captaincy.

There are five uncapped players named in the squad with 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 Balacoune, 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, “At the get together in December we challenged the players to put their hands up for the 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 6 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 1st February before welcoming Wales to the Aviva a week later on Saturday 8th February.  Ireland’s final home game of the 2020 Championships is against Italy on Saturday 7th March.  All three home fixtures are sold out.

IRELAND 2020 Guinness Six Nations Squad

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 (Queens University/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 CAPTAIN

Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 25 caps

 

Development Players

Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)

Robert Balacoune (Enniskillen/Ulster)

Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster)

Will Connors (UCD/Leinster)

 

Related

PREVIEW: Dragons V Connacht