Andy Farrell believes Ireland’s new high-performance centre will help them kick on after his first training camp since taking over as head coach.
Farrell, who has replaced Joe Schmidt in charge of Ireland, had 24 hours with a squad of 45 players as preparations for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations ramp up.
And Farrell has urged players to force his hand with their performances over the next months.
He said: “As far as selection is concerned, everyone is desperate to be part of the Six Nations. That is clear from the 24 hours that we have had. What we want to see is people putting their head above the parapet saying you have to pick me and don’t let it be a contest. That is what we are looking for over the next month.
“We’ve got a new high-performance centre here, it’s going to mean the world to us as far as progressing our game. The lads have had a taste of it and hopefully they will have a good Christmas now and will get stuck into the festive period where they play against each other over the coming weeks.”
The Ireland players also spent time in Dublin supporting the Focus Ireland ‘Christmas Choir’ campaign by singing and collecting on Grafton Street and College Green.
And while this was an initial squad of 45 players getting to know the new coaching staff, Farrell has kept the door open to those who missed out on initial selection.
He added: “It’s been great to get the boys together. We’ve only had 24 hours but hopefully we have set the scene with the way we are going to go forward. We’ve given each and every one of them an insight into how it’s going to be and what they need to work on in the next month to get selected for the Six Nations.
“There will be people not in the squad who may be in the squad come selection time at the end of January, there will be people in the squad here that might not make it. We’ve been clear and obvious with how we are going to run things and hopefully they take that home with them.”