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Lowe left out as Ireland name two uncapped players in squad of 37

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Ireland boss Andy Farrell has named two uncapped players – Ulster’s Michael Lowry and Connacht’s Mack Hansen – in his 37-strong squad for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations campaign which starts with a home match versus Wales in Dublin on February 5. But there was surprisingly no place for James Lowea starter in all three wins last November and a try-scorer versus the All Blacks and Japan.

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The New Zealander’s Test career since qualifying for Ireland under residency had been plagued by criticisms of his defence, but Lowe put those doubts behind him with his form in the Autumn Nations Series. He made three appearances for schedule-hit Leinster since then, scoring in their two European matches, but has now been excluded by Farrell.

There was no reason given for the exclusion of Lowe when the IRFU communications department issued by email the names of the players in Farrell’s squad, generating speculation that form was the issue. However, it later emerged that Lowe had suffered a hamstring injury at Leinster training and that this was what ruled him out of selection consideration.  

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Both Lowry and Hansen trained with the national squad in the past few months, Lowry during last July’s summer series and Hansen during the Autumn Nations Series. Injured Munster out-half Joey Carbery is included in the squad that is captained by Johnny Sexton, but Connacht’s Jack Carty is the third No10 on this occasion, getting the nudge on Harry Byrne who was capped off the bench versus Argentina.   

Cian Prendergast, Carty’s provincial colleague, will also join the squad for the training camp in Portugal as a development player. Farrell said: “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 twelve 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.”

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IRELAND 2022 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS SQUAD 
Backs (17)
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 33 caps
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 2 caps
Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 27 caps
Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 10 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 4 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 27 caps
Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 96 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 12 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) uncapped
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 53 caps
James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 16 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 30 caps
Michael Lowry (Ulster/Banbridge) uncapped
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 92 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 37 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 101 caps CAPTAIN

Forwards (20)
Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 6 caps
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 18 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 25 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 22 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 12 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 52 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 112 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 65 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 23 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 16 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 45 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 79 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 2 caps
Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 40 caps
James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 40 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 2 caps
Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 2 caps
Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 3 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 35 caps

Development Player
Cian Prendergast (Connacht)

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