New Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named a 45-man squad for his first camp since succeeding Joe Schmidt.
Farrell will host what the IRFU are referring to as a “24hour mid-season stocktake” at the union’s new High Performance Centre in Dublin next week, where Farrell, who worked as defence coach under Schmidt since 2016, will gather his players as head coach for the first time across December 22nd and 23rd.
Suggestions that Farrell may look to shake up his team with some new faces are strengthened by the fact he has opted to include a number of uncapped players, with Caolin Blade, Will Connors, Caelan Doris, Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ronan Kelleher, Bully Burns, and Tom O’Toole all named.
There is also a call-up for Devin Toner, who was excluded from Ireland’s 31-man World Cup squad. While there were questions surroundings Toner’s international future following that shock omission, his inclusion next week suggests he remains part of Farrell’s plans ahead of the 2020 Six Nations.
“The national coaches have been around the provinces watching games and having good conversations with players and the provincial coaches,” Farrell said.
“We have limited opportunities across the busy provincial season to bring a broad group like this together but this 24hr window will allow us to plant a few seeds. It will also give the coaches a better insight into a few players who been performing consistently well for their provinces.
“The next six weeks is the window for players to put their hands up for selection for our first squad which will be named in late January ahead of the Six Nations.”
Ireland squad for mid-season stocktake: