Ruddock And Furlong Return as Ireland Name Two Uncapped Players in Squad
Image courtesy of @LeinsterRugby
Rhys Ruddock and Tadhg Furlong could make their return to international rugby in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations after being named as part of Ireland’s 36-man Championship squad.
Tighthead prop Furlong hasn’t played a competitive game of rugby since last February due to back and calf injuries but returned to full training last week and is included in the group by head coach Andy Farrell.
Ruddock hasn’t played for Ireland in more than 15 months but his impressive form in a star-studded Leinster back row has earned him a recall, meaning he has a chance to don the green jersey for the first time since the defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Meanwhile, Ulster prop Tom O’Toole and Munster scrum-half Craig Casey could make their international debuts as the two uncapped players in Farrell’s squad.
Ulster flyer Jacob Stockdale, who is best-known as a winger but has been playing at full-back in recent months, misses out on selection due to a knee injury he sustained playing against Munster earlier this month.
“Since the Autumn international window, the club season has had a good few disruptions and the cancellation of the European fixtures means there have been less opportunities for players to show form or to return from injury and get some minutes under their belts,” explained Farrell.
“Tadhg (Furlong) hasn’t played in quite a while but he is ready to join the group. Unfortunately, Jacob (Stockdale) will not be available to us.”
Ireland kick off their 2021 Guinness Six Nations campaign away to Wales on Sunday February 7 as they look to regain the title they last won in 2018 – having missed out to England on the final day in 2020.
The squad is captained by fly-half Johnny Sexton who, along with back-rower Peter O’Mahony, sustained an injury in the Leinster v Munster clash over the weekend and will be assessed in camp this week.
Ireland squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations:
Bundee Aki (Connacht) 30 caps
Billy Burns (Ulster) 3 caps
Ross Byrne (Leinster) 11 caps
Craig Casey (Munster) uncapped
Andrew Conway (Munster) 24 caps
Shane Daly (Munster) 1 cap
Keith Earls (Munster) 88 caps
Chris Farrell (Munster) 14 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 5 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster) 47 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster) 6 caps
Jordan Larmour (Leinster) 24 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 2 caps
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 4 caps
Conor Murray (Munster) 87 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster) 30 caps
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster) 95 caps – CAPTAIN
Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 17 caps
Will Connors (Leinster) 5 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster) 7 caps
Ultan Dillane (Connacht) 17 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster) 25 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster) 104 caps
Dave Heffernan (Connacht) 5 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster) 58 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster) 16 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Leinster) 6 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster) 39 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Munster) 73 caps
Tom O’Toole (Ulster) uncapped
Andrew Porter (Leinster) 32 caps
Quinn Roux (Connacht) 16 caps
Rhys Ruddock (Leinster) 26 caps
James Ryan (Leinster) 32 caps
CJ Stander (Munster) 46 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster) 28 caps