Irish name seven new faces

Ireland have named seven uncapped players in their 44-man training squad ahead of the Six Nations.

Three of the new faces were born abroad. Ulster's South Africa-born duo Robbie Diack - a flanker - and hooker Rob Herring, plus Rodney Ah You, a former New Zealand Under 20s tighthead prop. All three newcomers qualify on residency grounds.

Cardiff Blues No 8 Robin Copeland, who will join Munster in the summer, is also named in the squad for the first time along with Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion, Leinster tighthead Martin Moore and his club colleague, flanker Jordi Murphy.

Several experienced players have been left out as they continue to recover from injuries including Richardt Strauss, Donnacha Ryan, Roger Wilson, Tommy Bowe, Simon Zebo, Declan Fitzpatrick and Craig Gilroy. They may be able to return for Six Nations duty but are omitted for now.

Sean O'Brien, Stephen Ferris, Mike Sherry and Stuart Olding are all on the long-term injury list.

Head coach Joe Schmidt said: "As always a number of the selections were very tight. Following on from the Guinness Series, there is an experienced core of players in the squad who will offer continuity, as well as some new additions who have been selected with an eye to the future.

"With Robin Copeland returning to play in Ireland next season it will be an opportunity for him to impress during the training week, while some of the younger or less experienced players such as Rob Herring, Iain Henderson, Rhys Ruddock, Kieran Marmion and Felix Jones have turned in some very positive performances to earn spots in the squad."

Forwards (24): Rodney Ah You (Connacht), Stephen Archer (Munster), Rory Best (Ulster), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Iain Henderson, (Ulster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Mike McCarthy (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Tommy O'Donnell (Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Damian Varley (Munster).

Backs (20): Isaac Boss (Leinster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Felix Jones (Munster), David Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Ian Keatley (Munster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Andrew Trimble (Ulster).