Ireland’s 35-strong Six Nations squad announced

Ireland have announced a 35 man squad for rugby ‘s 2007 RBS 6 Nations Championship which begins for Ireland with an away trip to Wales in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on February 4th.

  • Munster flanker Alan Quinlan is very unfortunate to miss out due to a controversial suspension
  • Fellow Munster-man Jerry Flannery returns after injury
  • Ulster ‘s Tommy Bowe returns after missing out due to a hamstring injury
  • Leinster ‘s danger man D’arcy returns after missing the autumn internationals
  • In form uncapped Munster centre Barry Murphy and…
  • uncapped Leinster full-back Robert Kearney have both joined the squad.

This is almost a full-strength squad and with Munster and Leinster going strong in the Heineken Cup , and Ulster leading the Magners League , Ireland will enter the competition as deserved favourites. Up first is a testing away trip to one of the Ireland’s strongest Six Nations opponents at Cardiff.

Coach Eddie O’Sullivan elaborates on his decisions:

The championship is a long and hard tournament that will always test your resources, so I felt we needed to increase our squad to 35 to give us some extra cover.

We have a good injury profile at the moment and with the return of players from injury, such as Tommy Bowe and Jerry Flannery as well as the other additions to the squad, it will push up the competition levels.

An away trip to play Wales is one of the toughest openings you could get at this moment. We are focusing on is trying to get the right performance.

More from BBC Sport.

Ireland squad

Forwards: Neil Best, Rory Best, Simon Best, Simon Easterby, Jerry Flannery, Keith Gleeson, John Hayes, Jamie Heaslip, Trevor Hogan, Marcus Horan, Denis Leamy, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Mick O’Driscoll, Malcolm O’Kelly, Frankie Sheahan, David Wallace, Bryan Young.

Backs: Isaac Boss, Tommy Bowe, Girvan Dempsey, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald, Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie, Robert Kearney, John Kelly, Barry Murphy, Geordan Murphy, Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, Eoin Reddan, Peter Stringer, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace.