Ireland coach Declan Kidney picks experienced Six Nations squad

Ireland coach Declan Kidney has stayed loyal to the men that played at the World Cup by naming no uncapped players in his initial 24-man squad for the Six Nations Championship.

With Gordon D'Arcy, Paddy Wallace and Eoin Reddan included, Luke Fitzgerald, Isaac Boss and Tomas O'Leary are named in the second-string Wolfhounds panel.

However, Kidney has emphasised that Wolfhounds players could still be promoted to the senior squad.

Injury doubt Leo Cullen is included.

There were reports on Wednesday that Leinster captain Cullen is facing six weeks out because of an Achilles injury but he has been named in Kidney's senior squad.

With Brian O'Driscoll ruled out of the Six Nations by a shoulder injury, Paul O'Connell will captain the Irish.

Also not considered because of injury were David Wallace, Darren Cave, Felix Jones, Jerry Flannery, Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan and Eoin Griffin.

Geordan Murphy is missing from the senior panel but he has not yet retired from international duty and could still feature in the Six Nations even though he has not been included in either the main or Wolfhounds squad.

IRELAND'S SIX NATIONS GAMES

  • v Wales, 5 February, Dublin
  • v France, 11 February, Paris
  • v Italy, 25 February, Dublin
  • v Scotland, 10 March, Dublin
  • v England, 17 March, London

Murphy said after the World Cup that he was considering international retirement but he has since held talks with Kidney and remains available for selection.

However with Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls all fit and available, Murphy is not part of the initial 24-man squad.

The 22-man squad for the Six Nations opener against Wales on 5 February will be picked after the Wolfhounds' clash against England Saxons on 30 January.

Ulster players Chris Henry, Nevin Spence and Dan Tuohy are named in the Wolfhounds squad which also includes Munster's Stephen Archer, Leinster trio David Kearney, Ian Madigan and Eoin O'Malley plus Connacht players Ronan Loughney and Brett Wilkinson.

The Ireland coach has also picked six "up and coming players" who will gain further experience by training with the senior squad for a week prior to the Six Nations opener against Wales.

These are Munster trio Ian Nagle, Peter O'Mahony and Simon Zebo, Ulster prop Paddy McAllister, Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran and Leinster's Andrew Conway.

"The Wolfhounds game gives myself and the other coaches one final chance to give games to players to see possible options before we settle on our match-day 22 for the opening game," said Kidney.

"It also gives us the opportunity to have a closer look in training at some of the younger players, rather than bringing in more experienced players, who are very much still in the frame for selection."

Ireland squad: Rory Best (Ulster), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Tom Court (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Leo Cullen (Leinster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Stephen Ferris (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Shane Jennings (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Paddy Wallace (Ulster)

Wolfhounds squad: Stephen Archer (Munster), Isaac Boss (Leinster), Gavin Duffy (Connacht), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Denis Hurley (Munster), David Kearney (Leinster), Ian Keatley (Munster), Ronan Loughney (Connacht), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Mike McCarthy (Connacht), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), John Muldoon (Connacht), Tomas O'Leary (Munster), Eoin O'Malley (Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Mike Sherry (Munster), Nevin Spence (Ulster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Damien Varley (Munster), Brett Wilkinson (Connacht)