Six Nations squad incoming; Central Council must take their chance

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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will name his Six Nations squad today. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will name his Six Nations squad today. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Joe Schmidt will today announce his Irish squad for the defence of the forthcoming Six Nations. Uncapped Connacht scrumhalf Caolin Blade is expected to make the 38 man selection, and Gerry Thornley has given his prediction for the entire squad here. Johnny Sexton’s knee tendon issue still hasn’t cleared up fully and means that he won’t be considered for Leinster’s final Champions Cup pool match against Wasps this weekend, he is not a concern from an Ireland perspective however. Robbie Henshaw (hamstring), Devin Toner (ankle) and Seán O’Brien (broken arm), Rob Kearney (quad) and Dan Leavy (calf) are all expected to be available. Meanwhile in his column this morning, Gordon D’Arcy explains how Munster are right on track but Leinster are at another level: “I get where Munster are at. I understand their pain, the motivation that drives them every day to get better, and it is clear that they only need to take a few more steps in their current trajectory before they are 80 minutes away from grabbing hold of a trophy last captured in 2008.”

It’s unlikely Diarmuid Connolly will make it back into the Dublin team as they begin that quest for five-in-a-row this year, according to former Dublin forward Senan Connell. Seán Moran writes in his column that Central Council must take their chance to change the game of Gaelic football and persist with the new rules for the league: “if Central Council was sufficiently committed to the trial process as recently as November there doesn’t appear much point in aborting it a quarter of the way through the agreed period.”

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