Uncapped duo Mack Hansen and Michael Lowry named in Ireland’s Six Nations squad

James Lowe an unexpected omission after picking up a muscle injury

Connacht winger Mack Hansen is one of two uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the Six nations. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht winger Mack Hansen is one of two uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the Six nations. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Ulster’s Michael Lowry and Connacht’s Mack Hansen are the two uncapped players named in Ireland’s 37-man squad for the 2022 Guinness Six Nations, with James Lowe an unexpected omission after sustaining a muscle injury.

The 23-year-old Lowry has been rewarded for some electric form after an extended run at fullback for Ulster of late, culminating in his two-try man-of-the-match performance in last Sunday’s bonus-point win away to Northampton.

Lowry, who trained with the squad during the summer series, made 190 metres from 16 carries, beating seven defenders and making three clean breaks last Sunday.

Hansen was added to the November squad and despite again missing out on a Champions Cup debut last weekend, the 23-year-old Irish-qualified ex-Brumbies winger has been a revelation since arriving at Connacht. He is the province’s leading try scorer with six tries in nine games.

His Connacht team-mate Jack Carty, who hasn’t played for Ireland since the World Cup, has also been rewarded for his form with a recall. Harry Byrne, although recovered from the hamstring injury which has sidelined him since earning his second cap against Argentina, misses out.

Joey Carbery, although still not back in full training, has been recuperating well from the fractured elbow he suffered in Munster’s Champions Cup win away to Wasps five weeks ago and is included.

In addition to Lowe, who started all three Tests and scored tries in the wins over Japan and New Zealand, a lack of rugby has also seen Simon Zebo, Stuart McCloskey and Ciarán Frawley miss out after being named in November.

The 26-year-old Ulster lock Kieran Treadwell, who won three caps in 2017, has been recalled to fill the void left by Ultan Dillane’s departure at the end of the season, having edged out Ross Molony and Fineen Wycherley. That is the only change among the 20 forwards chosen for the November Tests.

Despite injury concerns to Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan, Iain Henderson and Jordan Larmour, they have all been included as well. Johnny Sexton has retained the captaincy for the tournament while Connacht’s Cian Prendergast will join the squad for the training camp in Portugal as a Development Player.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell commented: “In November we challenged the group to get up to speed quickly so that the team could perform at international level. The same will apply for this Six Nations campaign, we need to be at our best against Wales on the opening weekend.

“We have a strong squad with competition for places across the board, there is a nice blend of experienced internationals and guys who have had their first taste of this level in the past 12 months. The games in November gave us a good foundation to build on and areas where we know we will have to improve.

“It will be an exciting championship with so many strong squads and impressive performances across the board during the autumn.”

Ireland’s opening fixture of the 2022 Six Nations is at home against Wales on Saturday, February 5th. A week later, the squad will travel to France to take on Les Bleus in Paris. In round three, on Sunday, February 27th, Ireland host Italy at the Aviva Stadium and then travel to Twickenham to take on England two weeks’ later. In the final round of games, Ireland host Scotland on Saturday, March 19th.

All games will be available on free-to-air television with RTÉ broadcasting the games against Wales and England while Virgin will broadcast the games against France, Italy and Scotland. ITV will broadcast the games in Northern Ireland.

Ireland Six Nations Squad

Backs (17)
Bundee Aki (Connacht) 33 caps
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster) 2 caps
Joey Carbery (Munster) 27 caps
Jack Carty (Connacht) 10 caps
Craig Casey (Munster) 4 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster) 27 caps
Keith Earls (Munster) 96 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 12 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) uncapped
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster) 53 caps
James Hume (Ulster) 1 cap
Hugo Keenan (Leinster) 16 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster) 30 caps
Michael Lowry (Ulster) uncapped
Conor Murray (Munster) 92 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster) 37 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster, capt) 101 caps

Forwards (20)
Ryan Baird (Leinster) 6 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht) 18 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 25 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster) 22 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster) 12 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster) 52 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster) 112 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster) 65 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster) 23 caps
Rónan Kelleher (Leinster) 16 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster) 45 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Munster) 79 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster) 2 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster) 40 caps
James Ryan (Leinster) 40 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster) 2 caps
Nick Timoney (Ulster) 2 caps
Kieran Treadwell (Ulster) 3 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster) 35 caps

Development Player
Cian Prendergast (Connacht)

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