Sexton To Captain 35-Man Ireland Team For Six Nations

Following the retirement of 124-cap captain Rory Best, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has chosen flyhalf Johnny Sexton as the new man for the job, beginning with this year's Six Nations. 

Sexton comes into the Six Nations with 94 caps to his name, and was at the forefront of former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt's system since 2013. 

Five uncapped players were named in the squad, including Ulster duo Billy Burns (Flyhalf) and Tom O'Toole (Prop), and Leinster trio Max Deegan (Back Row), Caelen Doris (Back Row), and Ronan Kelleher (Hooker). 

Eleven players from the 31-man World Cup squad were bypassed for selection. 

Despite Ireland's underwhelming performance at the World Cup, there's good reason for optimism ahead of this Six Nations. All four of the Irish provincial teams are in the top half of their Pro14 conferences, and three of the four are still in contention for the Heineken Champions Cup. 

Ireland begins its Six Nations campaign on February 1st at home against Scotland, before playing hosts once again against Wales on February 8th. 

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