21 Jan 2016
Joe Schmidt has named UCD's Josh Van Der Flier as flanker in his 35-man squad for the opening two rounds of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship.
On Newstalks Monday night's Off The Ball, Josh van der Flier was one player tipped to make his Ireland bow sooner rather than later, with The Irish Times Gavin Cummiskey stating that "from what I've seen, Josh van der Flier will play for Ireland" and adding that he "just looks better and better and the great thing about him is every time he plays well, Sean O'Brien comes onto the pitch or plays a week later and goes up to another level".
The flanker and UCD BSc Sports and Exercise Management student, who has been capped 11 times at U20 level, made his Leinster debut as far back as October 2014. This season the 22-year-old has made 12 appearances in all competitions, starting nine times and scoring a try against Bath in the Champions Cup back in November and another in the New Year's Day victory over Connacht in the Guinness Pro 12.
Van Der Flier has the opportunity now to impress after winning the call-up as cover, while Chris Henry continues to work his way back from a shoulder problem. However, another of UCD's youg starlets; Garry Ringrose, mentioned as a midfield option, must bide his time.
Rory Best, has been named as the new Captain of the campaign. Best has scored eight tries in 89 appearances and won his first cap in 2005. Jamie Heaslip is the vice-captain.
Ireland will host Wales in round 1 of the Championship on Sunday, 7th February, at a sold out Aviva Stadium. In round 2 Ireland travel to Paris to take on France at the Stade de France. Ireland's remaining 6 Nations home games against Italy and Scotland are also sold out.
The Ireland team will host two open training sessions during the 6 Nations where fans can watch the team train and meet the players. The first open session takes place in the Aviva Stadium on Friday, 29th January, with the second taking place in Mullingar RFC on Friday, 19th February. Both open sessions are ticketed events with details on how to access tickets available on the IRFU website.
IRELAND - 6 Nations Squad - Round 1 & 2
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) CAPTAIN
Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
James Cronin (Dolphin/Munster)
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht)*
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) VICE-CAPTAIN
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster)
Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary's College/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
CJ Stander (Munster)*
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)*
Nathan White (Connacht)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht)
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Stuart McCloskey (Ballynahinch/Ulster)*
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Jared Payne (Ulster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
Simon Zebo (Cork Con/Munster)
*Denotes uncapped player