Connacht quartet named in Six Nations squad

Good news, and bad for Connacht representation on this year's Six Nations rugby squad.

Four players have got the nod from head coach Andy Farrell - Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux and Dave Heffernan. Missing out are: Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion and Finlay Bealhan.

All four are deserving of their places in the squad - despite Aki's knee injury - but Carty, Marmion and Bealham can understandably feel hard done by, and frustrated.

All three have been there before, but have always shown resilience to fight back. Bealham, in particular, will feel he did more than enough last time out, particularly having been moved to loosehead. And although he conceded a couple of penalties, Bealham was otherwise solid in the scrum, and more than made up for it with his pace and open play.

All three are no strangers to resilience - not least Kieran Marmion, who was treated poorly by the Irish management team prior to the World Cup. It came as a shock for Marmion, who as the number two, was dropped in favour of Luke McGrath, who also now finds himself out of favour. That spot has been taken by Leinster's Jamison Gibson Park, the 28-years-old New Zealander. In the recent series Marmion was relegated to No 3, sitting on the sidelines for most of matches except for an introduction in a losing late battle against Georgia. Now he finds himself out in the cold with Munster's new boy Craig Casey usurping him.

Then there is Connacht's Jack Carty - the player who commanded Connacht's most recent performance over Leinster, producing a magical 25 points and equaling a 25-years-old record. It had taken a while for Carty to properly recover from the trauma of Ireland's World Cup exit, not to mention the unnecessary and unfair criticism, but that was well and truly behind him when he was back on song against Ulster. Yet again, he received another squad call-up, but never made an appearance. Was his recent form enough?

Had the trip been selected, Connacht's representation would be seven - a fair reflection of their talent and the work being done in the province.

 

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