Ulster’s uncapped Michael Lowry in Six Nations squad for Ireland

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named uncapped duo Mack Hansen and Michael Lowry in his 37-man squad for the 2022 Guinness Six Nations.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 6:23 pm

Connacht wing Hansen has been in red-hot form in the United Rugby Championship, while versatile back Lowry has impressed for Ulster.

Munster fly-half Joey Carbery has been included, despite recently being sidelined by a fractured elbow, but Leinster wing James Lowe has been left out due to a muscular injury.

Meanwhile, Ulster lock Kieran Treadwell, who won three Test caps in 2017, has been recalled.

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Ulster's Michael Lowry. Pic by PA.

Farrell has mainly kept faith with the players used in the autumn when the Irish stretched their winning run to eight games by beating Japan and Argentina, either side of a statement success over New Zealand.

In addition to the enforced absence of New Zealand-born Lowe, Leinster duo Harry Byrne and Ciaran Frawley, Munster wing Simon Zebo and Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey have been dropped.

Second-rower Ultan Dillane has also been overlooked having decided to leave Connacht for an unnamed overseas club at the end of the season.

Ireland begin the championship on Saturday, February 5 when defending champions Wales visit the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Veteran fly-half Johnny Sexton will captain his country for the third successive championship after overcoming ankle and knee issues suffered in November.

With deputy Carbery deemed fit to be included, Connacht’s Jack Carty – who has not featured since the 2019 World Cup – has been selected as the other 10, ahead of Byrne.

Irish preparations for the tournament have been hampered by a number of players having seen limited recent game time due to a series postponements at domestic level.

Coach Farrell told the Irish Rugby Football Union website: “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.

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

Vice-captain James Ryan and Leinster team-mates Tadhg Furlong and Jordan Larmour have shrugged off minor injury concerns to be included, in addition to Ulster skipper Iain Henderson, who has not played since November.

Ryan Baird, Craig Casey, Robert Baloucoune, Gavin Coombes, James Hume, Tom O’Toole, Nick Timoney and Dan Sheehan – who were among the 12 new caps in 2021 – have once again made the cut.

Connacht forward Cian Prendergast will join the squad’s training camp in Portugal as a development player.

Ulster wing Jacob Stockdale misses out after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury he sustained in September.

Ireland: Forwards: R Baird (Leinster), F Bealham (Connacht), T Beirne (Munster), J Conan (Leinster), G Coombes (Munster), C Doris (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), C Healy (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), R Herring (Ulster), R Kelleher (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), P O’Mahony (Munster), T O’Toole (Ulster), A Porter (Leinster), J Ryan (Leinster), D Sheehan (Leinster), N Timoney (Ulster), K Treadwell (Ulster), J Van Der Flier (Leinster). Backs: B Aki (Connacht), R Baloucoune (Ulster), J Carbery (Munster), J Carty (Connacht), C Casey (Munster), A Conway (Munster), K Earls (Munster), J Gibson-Park (Leinster), M Hansen (Connacht), R Henshaw (Leinster), J Hume (Ulster), H Keenan (Leinster), J Larmour (Leinster), M Lowry (Ulster), C Murray (Munster), G Ringrose (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster, capt).

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