Six Nations: Johnny Sexton and uncapped Munster trio included

Leinster outhalf was an injury doubt but he has made Joe Schmidt’s 40-man squad

Jonathan Sexton is in Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations Ireland squad. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Joe Schmidt has named a 40 man squad for the opening two rounds of the 2017 Six Nations Championship.

Johnny Sexton is among the 40 despite picking up a calf injury at the weekend.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen had appeared reasonably confident after Friday night's Champions Cup draw with Castres that Sexton's calf injury - which forced his withdrawal after 21 minutes - would not jeopardise his involvement in the Six Nations.

Uncapped Munster trio, Niall Scannell, Andrew Conway and Rory Scannell are also included.


Rory Scannell was the 24th man during Ireland’s win over Australia at the Aviva, and the 23-year-old centre has continued his fine form since that call up.

His older brother Niall will compete with James Tracy for the back-up hooker position, in the absence of the injured Sean Cronin.

Ireland travel to both Edinburgh and Rome over the course of the first two rounds of this year's Championship facing the Scots in Murrayfield on Saturday 4th February before flying to Rome to take on Conor O'Shea's Italian side on Saturday 11th February.

Schmidt commented, “It has been good to watch the players over the past two months and great to see many of them doing so well.

"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:

Forwards (22)

Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 6 caps

Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (c) 100 caps

Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 1 cap

Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 8 caps

Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 11 caps

Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 62 caps

Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (vc) 91 caps

Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 28 caps

Billy Holland (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1 cap

Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 17 caps

Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 1 cap

Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 36 caps

Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 44 caps

Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12 caps

Peter O’Mahony (Cork Con/Munster) 37 caps

Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 43 caps

John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1 cap

Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) *

CJ Stander (Munster) 10 caps

Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 42 caps

James Tracy (UCD/Leinster) 1 cap

Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 5 caps

Backs (18)

Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 67 caps

Andrew Conway (Munster) *

Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 54 caps

Craig Gilroy (Bangor/Ulster) 9 caps

Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 24 caps

Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 19 caps

Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 72 caps

Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 9 caps

Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster) 9 caps

Stuart McCloskey (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 1 cap

Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 1 cap

Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 53 caps

Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht) 3 caps

Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps

Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) *

Jonathan Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 63 caps

Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 69 caps

Simon Zebo (Cork Con/Munster) 28 caps

*Denotes uncapped player