The Ireland head coach, Declan Kidney, has named a battle-hardened 24-man squad for the Six Nations game against Wales in Dublin a fortnight on Sunday. No uncapped players made the cut, despite the fact that a number of big names – the centre Brian O'Driscoll, the hooker Jerry Flannery and the back-row forwards David Wallace and Denis Leamy included – missed out because of injury.
However, Kidney has asked half a dozen up-and-coming players to make up the numbers in the training party and will pay close consideration to the Irish Wolfhounds' performance in the second-string international against England Saxons at Exeter in nine days' time. No fewer than 14 of the 22-strong Wolfhounds squad have Test experience.
Meanwhile, the Northampton and Ireland No 8 Roger Wilson has confirmed plans to move back to Ulster next season. Wilson left Belfast for the East Midlands in 2008.