Published Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt. (© Presseye)
Head coach Joe Schmidt has selected 10 Ulster players in his 44-man extended squad.
They are: Darren Cave, Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and Andrew Trimble, Rory Best, Robbie Diack, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Rob Herring and Dan Tuohy.
Ireland's opening fixture sees them take on Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on 2 February.
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."
Herring, Henderson and Cardiff Blues number eight Robin Copeland are among the uncapped and younger players included in the side.
Meanwhile the coach said the likes of Craig Gilroy, Tommy Bowe, Simon Zebo and Donnacha Ryan - who are currently injured or returning from injury - will remain with their provinces to gain further recovery time, but may yet return for Six Nations games.
Schmidt said: "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."
Ireland will take on Scotland at home before welcoming Wales six days later, then travelling to Twickenham to play England on 22 February, hosting Italy on 8 March and taking on Philippe Saint-Andre's France side in Paris on 15 March.
Squad in full:
Backs (20) -
Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) *
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
Forwards (24) -
Rodney Ah You (Buccaneers/Connacht) *
Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues) *
Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
Robbie Diack (Malone/Ulster) *
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) *
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Mike McCarthy (Leinster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)
Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster)
* Denotes uncapped player
© UTV News