Joey Carberry was the most notable absentee from the 37-man squad selected by Andy Farrell and his coaching staff for the upcoming Six Nations Championship. Carberry, following a slow start to the season, has looked more accomplished in recent weeks for Munster, however, Ross Byrne’s excellent form for Leinster along with his match-winning exploits against Australia in November sees him earn a well-deserved spot in the squad. Jack Crowley, despite only starting twice at 10 for Munster this season, is the third out-half included in the squad. Crowley’s ability to cover both first centre and fullback may prove useful for a bench spot in the tournament’s latter stages, although it seems likely that Ross Byrne will act as cover for Johnny Sexton for the trip to Cardiff on the 4th of February.
21-year-old Jamie Osborne is the only uncapped player in the squad. Osborne is another player who can cover many positions across the backline but inside centre is where he has impressed the most for Leinster in the absence of Robbie Henshaw. The Naas man has looked extremely comfortable in the URC and Champions Cup this season, and while it may be too early an introduction for him at test-level rugby,
he offers a different style of play to the more abrasive Bundee Aki and Stuart McCloskey.
Andy Farrell’s Six Nations squad
Jacob Stockdale returns to the squad and will hope to make his first appearance for Ireland since July 2021. Stockdale was impressive for Ulster in their recent win over Sale Sharks in the Champions Cup, and though he may have to wait for an injury before he is considered for a matchday squad, there is no doubting his mercurial talent.
In the forwards, it is hoped that Tadhg Furlong’s injury trouble, which has kept him out of Leinster squads recently, is behind him. Furlong’s importance to Ireland’s success cannot be overstated enough. The Irish scrum came under serious pressure from the French away in Paris last year and is perhaps the only obvious weakness in this Irish side. The Leinster scrum has struggled in Furlong’s absence, most notably
against an Ospreys pack that contained five players who could feature for Warren Gatland’s side in Cardiff.
Gavin Coombes’ form for Munster has earned him a place in the squad amongst an extremely competitive back-row contingent. Coombes has responded well to being left out of the squad for the Autumn internationals, his strong carrying ability and keen eye for a try may prove useful from the bench.
Scottish Head Coach Gregor Townsend has included Munster’s Ben Healy in his squad for the Six Nations. The former Glenstal Abbey out-half qualifies for Scotland through his mother and will join Edinburgh in the summer. Finn Russell looks set to start in the number ten jersey, however, an injury to Russell may see Healy fast-tracked into the starting line-up, with natural fullback Blair Kinghorn the only other out-half cover in the squad.
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