Healy and O'Brien seek return to fitness for Six Nations

Healy and O'Brien seek return to fitness for Six Nations

LEINSTER pair Cian Healy and Sean O’Brien face a race to be fit for the first match of the Six Nations after being named in Ireland’s extended training squad for the tournament.

The duo have spent the majority of this season on the sidelines and missed the autumn internationals.

Despite this, they have been named in the squad and look likely to continue their comebacks by playing for the Wolfhounds against the England Saxons on January 30.

Jonny Sexton, Conor Murray and Robbie Henshaw are included despite injury concerns ahead of the defending champions’ first match against Italy on February 7.

Robin Copeland, David Kilcoyne, Luke Marshall, Donncha Ryan and Andrew Trimble are continuing their recovery from injury with their clubs but the national side have the option to include them when fit.

The squad contains two uncapped players in the form of prop Nathan White, who was named in the autumn squad before being ruled out with a bicep injury, and Leinster back row Jack Conan.

Extended Ireland Squad:

Backs: Isaac Boss (Leinster); Tommy Bowe (Ulster); Darren Cave (Ulster); Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster); Keith Earls (Munster); Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster); Craig Gilroy (Ulster); Robbie Henshaw (Connacht); Felix Jones (Munster); Dave Kearney (Leinster); Rob Kearney (Leinster); Ian Keatley (Munster); Ian Madigan (Leinster); Kieran Marmion (Connacht); Fergus McFadden (Leinster); Conor Murray (Munster); Jared Payne (Ulster); Eoin Reddan (Leinster); Noel Reid (Leinster); Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92); Simon Zebo (Munster)

Forwards: Michael Bent (Leinster); Rory Best (Ulster); Jack Conan (Leinster); Sean Cronin (Leinster); James Cronin (Munster); Robbie Diack (Ulster); Dave Foley (Munster); Cian Healy (Leinster); Jamie Heaslip (Leinster); Iain Henderson (Ulster); Rob Herring (Ulster); Mike McCarthy (Leinster); Jack McGrath (Leinster); Martin Moore (Leinster); Jordi Murphy (Leinster); Sean O'Brien (Leinster); Paul O'Connell (Munster); Tommy O'Donnell (Munster); Peter O'Mahony (Munster); Mike Ross (Leinster); Rhys Ruddock (Leinster); Dominic Ryan (Leinster); Richardt Strauss (Leinster); Devin Toner (Leinster); Nathan White (Connacht)