Search icon


14th Jan 2024

Five outside shouts for Ireland’s Six Nations squad

Patrick McCarry

The squad will be announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Andy Farrell will, this week, name his Ireland squad for the opening rounds of the 2024 Six Nations. We are expecting some uncapped players to get the nod, and the return of some familiar faces.

The championship will see Ireland attempt to retain their Grand Slam status, for the first time in their history. Farrell would not proclaim as much, but he may be satisfied with a successful title defence and the discovery or two or three Test-ready players. The Slam would be dream territory, especially with games over in Marseille and London.

We have already selected a predicted squad – updating it since to account for Mack Hansen and Jimmy O’Brien’s injuries. We are focusing, now, on some of those margin calls.

Here are five players that will surely be in the selection conversations ahead of the mid-week announcement:

John Hodnett

John Hodnett of Munster is interviewed after the United Rugby Championship Final. (Photo by Nic Bothma/Sportsfile)

The Cork native has played 10 times for Munster, this season, all in the No.7 jersey. Ended last season on a high – man of the match in the URC Final – and has carried that form into the current campaign. Ireland could do with an extra openside in their squad and Hodnett is doing all that is being asked of him.

Will Connors

This one goes by the same logic, meaning it could be a coin flip between both men. Connors, who has nine caps to his name, delivered an emphatic calling card in the away win over La Rochelle, this season. Farrell will have noted that dogged performance. Going against the Kildare native is the fact that he has only started three games this season.

Sam Prendergast

Sam Prendergast of Leinster. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)

This one may rest on what Andy Farrell really makes of Harry Byrne and Billy Burns as Test options. And, for that matter, Jack Carty and JJ Hanrahan. Prendergast looks a really decent, confident prospect but has started just four professional games in the 10 jersey. Could make it as a ‘development’ player or Farrell may [as he did with Harry Byrne in 2021] just skip him up the list for a look.

Rob Baloucoune

Has not featured for Ireland since he scored a try, but had some defensive lapses, against Fiji in November 2022. Has started all 10 of his Ulster appearances and, while he has just one try in those games, has looked threatening and dialled in wins against Racing, Connacht and Munster. There is a quality Test player there – feel it in our bones.

Antoine Frisch

There are plenty of arguments for the selection of Frisch – French born, but Irish qualified. Has been one of Munster’s best signings in recent seasons and has formed a handy partnership with Alex Nankivell, this season. The argument against is one with four surnames – Ringrose, Aki, Henshsaw and McCloskey.

Antoine Frisch of Emerging Ireland during the Toyota Challenge match between Airlink Pumas, in October 2022 in Bloemfontein. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

*Join SportsJOE’s WhatsApp community for first access to news, sports updates, and quizzes. Click on this link to receive news and the latest sports headlines directly to your phone.  You can leave the group at any time.


Related articles:

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?