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Larmour caps rise with Six Nations spot

Jordan Larmour was the only new name included in a strong Ireland squad for the opening games of next month’s Six Nations, capping a meteoric rise for the 20-year-old fullback, who only made his Leinster debut four months ago.

Larmour, still a member of the province’s youth academy, has exploded onto the PRO14 stage this season, scoring six tries in seven starts, including two stunning solo efforts against local rivals Munster and Ulster in recent weeks.

The speedy Larmour, who can also play on the wing and has drawn comparisons to England’s Jason Robinson and Christian Cullen of New Zealand, only made his European bow at the weekend but that was enough for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to include him in his initial 36-man squad.

Schmidt’s side open their Six Nations campaign in France on February 3 and host Italy a week later. They will be without back-row forwards Sean O’Brien, Rhys Ruddock, Tommy O’Donnell and Jamie Heaslip – and centres Garry Ringrose and Jared Payne – who are all absent through injury.

Ireland, however, have been stockpiling depth in those two positions in particular with the opening fixtures potentially giving centres Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell and flankers Dan Leavy and Josh van der Flier a chance to impress.

“It’s been great to witness some quality performances from provincial teams over the last seven weeks of European and derby matches, with a number of players performing well,” Schmidt said in a statement on Tuesday.

“There were some very tight decisions but it’s great to see some competitive depth in a number of positions.”

IRELAND: Forwards: Rory Best (capt, Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Dan Leavy, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, James Ryan, John Ryan, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Josh van der Flier.

Backs: Bundee Aki, Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Rob Kearney, Ian Keatley, Jordan Larmour, Kieran Marmion, Fergus McFadden, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Rory Scannell, Jacob Stockdale.

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