PROFILE: Who are Ireland's Six Nations squad newcomers?

Joe Schmidt picked four uncapped players in his squad

Josh van der Flier, Leinster

Leinster's Josh Van Der Flier ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

As today's Six Nations squad announcement approached, there was a fair bit of speculation about the young players who might make it into Joe Schmidt's thoughts.

Leinster's young centre Garry Ringrose was one name particularly raised.

But in the end Schmidt has gone for four uncapped players in the 35-man selection, with Ringrose not among the names.

As Schmidt explained: "There are a few new faces but at the same time we have resisted the temptation to include some of the very promising youngsters, allowing them a bit more time to develop as well as the opportunity of further game time with their provinces."

South Africa-born CJ Stander has been one of Munster's leading players since joining the province in 2012.

But what do we know about the development of the other three new faces?

Josh van der Flier

On Monday night's Off The Ball, Josh van der Flier was one player tipped to make his Ireland bow sooner rather than later, with The Irish Times Gavin Cummiskey stating that "from what I've seen, Josh van der Flier will play for Ireland" and adding that he "just looks better and better and the great thing about him is every time he plays well, Sean O'Brien comes onto the pitch or plays a week later and goes up to another level".

The flanker, who has been capped 11 times at U20 level, made his Leinster debut as far back as October 2014.

This season the 22-year-old has made 12 appearances in all competitions, starting nine times and scoring a try against Bath in the Champions Cup back in November and another in the New Year's Day victory over Connacht in the Guinness Pro 12. 

Stuart McCloskey

Emerging at Ulster, the 23-year-old has had regular action this season with 11 full 80 minute appearances across all competitions.

In that time, the Bangor-born centre has notched three tries and was identified by Off The Ball's Cian Murtagh as one of an exciting crop of young players who can add some spark to the senior Ireland setup.

At 1m91 and 108KG, the centre is relatively imposing physically, making his breakthrough at provincial level the season before last. 

 Ultan Dillane

Ultan Dillane ©INPHO/James Crombie

The 6 foot 6 Connacht lock is the fourth uncapped player in Schmidt's squad. Paris-born, the 22-year-old made his provincial debut last season, while still a part of the academy.

He is certainly in good form as he won Connacht's Player of the Month for December.

The Kerry native has 10 caps for the province this season and has represented Ireland at U18 and U19 level.