How did Ireland's uncapped players fare in the 2017 Six Nations?

Three Munster players had no caps prior to the tournament

Ireland, Andrew Conway, England, Six Nations, rugby

Ireland’s Andrew Conway ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ahead of the 2017 Six Nations, Ireland had blooded a significant number of players.

As ex-national team captain Keith Wood said on Newstalk prior to the defeat to Wales in Cardiff, Ireland had incorporated a fair number of newcomers into their wider squad.

"Wales have only had three new capped players since the World Cup compared to 19 from Ireland. That's pretty stark idea and view into how many players we now seem to have at our disposal and maybe the lack of trust that sits within Pro 12 being a big step up for Wales," he said at the time.

As of the eve of the 2017 tournament, 19 players in the squad had won 10 caps or fewer, while two further mid-Six Nations call ups can be added to that list. 

The likes of Luke McGrath (1 cap), John Ryan (1) and Garry Ringrose (3) had already been capped by the time the Six Nations began, with many of those caps for the inexperienced names coming during the November Internationals.

But of the aforementioned 19 (plus two call ups), only three had never been capped prior to the tournament. And that trio did end up seeing a small amount of action by the time the full time whistle blew at the Aviva Stadium at the end of the win over England. 

That uncapped trio on the eve of the tournament were Munster's Scannell brothers, Niall and Rory, and their provincial team-mate Andrew Conway.

A view of Niall Scannell's jersey ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Hooker Niall Scannell got the most comprehensive run of the trio in terms of game time during the Six Nations.

Having started out the tournament with zero caps he ends the 2017 Six Nations with a full four under his belt.

The 24 year old was not involved in the match against Scotland as he remained on the bench at Murrayfield. But Joe Schmidt entrusted him with a start in Rome as Ireland demolished Italy. He got 62 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico before Leinster's James Tracy, who had been capped against Canada last November, replaced him.

As our own Simon Maguire said of Scannell's debut, "As debuts go, he couldn't have asked for better. Solid at line-out time and can be happy with his performance in the scrum".

With captain Rory Best the incumbent for the big matches, Scannell then reverted to his role as an impact sub for the remaining three matches, featuring for a grand total of 28 minutes against France, Wales and England in place of the experienced Ulster man.

His younger brother Rory Scannell however remains without a cap. The centre was not involved in any of the five fixtures. 

Their Munster team-mate Andrew Conway had to wait for Saturday's game against England to make his Ireland bow, with the 25 year old replacing provincial colleague Keith Earls on 40 minutes