Six Nations 2015: Ireland name 36-man training squad
No place in squad for veteran centre Gordon D'Arcy despite injuries as head coach Joe Schmidt makes no changes to back division
Veteran centre Gordon D’Arcy has missed the cut for Ireland’s training squad for the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations.
Head coach Joe Schmidt has added no new names to his 16-man back division for their visits to Wales and Scotland, but has drafted in a trio of forwards.
Uncapped Leinster tighthead prop tighthead Tadhg Furlong and his front-row colleague Michael Bent receive call ups as Schmidt swells his options in the forwards to 20.
Fit-again Ulster lock Dan Tuohy, who has missed Ireland’s camapaign so far while he recovered from thumb ligament damage also returns.
Tuohy’s last outing for Ireland came in the Six Nations 13 months ago with the Ulsterman has been beset by injury problems at the wrong time, which included a broken arm against Wales in Cardiff last February.
The nine-times capped international missed the remainder of Ireland’s title success and was again ruled out of their impressive autumn international series after sustaining another broken arm.
But his chances of making a break back into the engine room appear slim with his provincial colleague Iain Henderson expected to continue backing up captain Paul O’Connell and Leinster’s Devin Toner.
He is back fit, back playing for Leinster again so I wouldn’t rule him out for future selection.
Mick Kearney on Gordon D’Arcy’s Ireland omission
Leinster centre D’Arcy, 35, will be disappointed not to have received an invitation to train with the Ireland squad at Carton House, with Ulster’s Jared Payne going through return-to-play protocols after being concussed in the 19-9 win over England in Dublin on 1 March, while Ulster’s Stuart Olding is injured and his club team-mate Luke Marshall is unavailable through suspension.
Should Payne fail to recover in time for Ireland’s clash against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, Schmidt could hand a start to Darren Cave, who captained Ulster in their Guinness PRO12 defeat at Newport Gwent Dragons last Sunday, or switch Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw back to 13 and deploy Leinster’s Ian Madigan at inside centre.
Despite missing out, Ireland team manager Mick Kearney admitted that D’Arcy is very much still in their thoughts.
“Gordon has obviously been an unbelievable servant for Irish rugby,” Kearney said.
“He is back fit, back playing for Leinster again so I wouldn’t rule him out for future selection.”
Ireland talisman Johnny Sexton continues to undergo “modified” training this week with a view to training fully later this week as he battles to overcome a hamstring strain.
Madigan, and Munster’s Ian Keatley, who started the win over Italy with Sexton unavailable, continue to provide cover at out-half.
Leinster captain Jamie Heaslip is also named, despite suffering a damaged transverse process in the win over France.
The number eight is back in contact training and is expected to return to the starting XV in Cardiff after sitting out the win over England.
Ireland squad for Wales and Scotland (36):
Forwards (20): Michael Bent (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Tommy O’Donnell (Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Dominic Ryan (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Touhy (Ulster).
Backs (16): Isaac Boss (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Felix Jones (Munster), David Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Ian Keatley (Munster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro), Simon Zebo (Munster).