Zebo and Gilroy left out of Ireland squad
January 27, 2014
Zebo was hugely impressive in last year's Six Nations © PA Photos
Joe Schmidt has named a squad of 34 players for the opening two games of the 2014 Six Nations.
Simon Zebo and Craig Gilroy are both notable omissions despite joining the Six Nations camp at Carton House this week as Schmidt waited on the fitness of Keith Earls.
Zebo has found fitness after a foot injury sustained in October and Gilroy has recovered after suffering suspected concussion in Heineken Cup duty for Ulster against Montpellier in January. Both played against England Saxons at the weekend but have clearly not done enough to prove to Schmidt that they are fully fit and ready for Ireland's opening double header. The pair can still be called up for later in the competition if their fitness improves.
Connacht's Rodney Ah You, hookers Rob Herring and Damien Varley and Ulster regular Robbie Diack all missed out after being named in Schmidt's original squad. Ireland will also be without Earls for the entire Six Nations, while Ian Keatley also misses out.
Schmidt's wing options for the opener will be Luke Fitzgerald, Andrew Trimble, Fergus McFadden and Dave Kearney. In the backdrop of an increasing injury list, Schmidt has been handed a boost after Jonathan Sexton came through action for Top 14 club Racing Metro this weekend unscathed - and he is expected to play at 10 for Ireland this weekend.
Ireland open their Six Nations campaign with back-to-back home fixtures against Scotland and reigning champions Wales.
Forwards: Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues), Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster) Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster) Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster) Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster) Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (St Mary's College/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)
Backs: Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster), Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster), David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster), Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Brendan Rodgers insists establishing a long-standing youth system at Liverpool will be just as important to his Anfield legacy as winning silverware
There were 27 fans in the gallery when Tiger Woods teed off on the eighth hole Thursday, most other fans having long left Doral because of an afternoon downpour
Phil Taylor's troubles continued as he slumped to a fourth defeat in five Premier League Darts matches after going down 7-5 to Gary Anderson at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter
Joe Root has been ruled out of the Twenty20 series against West Indies and, in all probability, the World Twenty20 to follow after x-rays revealed he had suffered a broken thumb in the deciding ODI in Antigua
Williams Martini Racing reserve driver Felipe Nasr believes that he has joined the right team for him in his aims to break into Formula One.
Australian Rugby Union officials in recent times have "lacked authority" when negotiating with New Zealand and South Africa, and they need to show "more backbone" when pushing national causes, Greg Growden reports
Greg Growden and Brittany Mitchell bring you the lowdown on the Super Rugby round four to in form your ESPNfootytips selections
Brett McKay analyzes New South Wales' opening try against Queensland, and says we can expect to see the play, and variations on the theme, many times over in the coming weeks
Maurice Hamilton reports from the launch of a rather special (and familiar) livery
With week five of the Premier League darts taking place at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter, we can't help but look to the north of England for a tasty punt
Cristiano Ronaldo has played down his latest record, claiming landmarks come naturally to him
Eden Hazard believes he can surpass Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to be the best player in the world - but knows he needs to be twice the player he is at the moment to achieve his goal
Samir Nasri insists Arsene Wenger is a "magician" and believes criticism of his former manager about his lack of trophies is unfair
Mesut Ozil continued to face criticism as he was jeered by a section of Germany fans during his nation's 1-0 friendly win over Chile in Stuttgart
David Moyes was in attendance for France's 2-0 friendly win against the Netherlands in Paris on Wednesday to scout Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba as he considers how to rebuild his Manchester United squad
Join Gareth Davies, Ben Blackmore and Chris Park each week for the latest news, views and debate from the UFC
Once prone to putting his head down and looking the other way when walking past fans on the street, Andy Murray is finding lots of reasons to look them in the eye
'I'm glad that Vasyl Lomachenko is a pro and I'm also glad that he lost on Saturday,' writes ESPN's resident boxing expert Steve Bunce
The waiting is finally over after it was announced that 82-year-old Nick Bollettieri will be enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame later this summer