Payne back in Ireland contention

Updated: 

For the first time since the November internationals Jared Payne is back in the Ireland squad after recovering from a kidney injury.

The utility back has been called up by Joe Schmidt for the final two rounds of the Six Nations, which see Ireland face Wales and England.

Payne made his club return last weekend as Ulster beat Zebre, the 31-year-old coming off the bench to make his first appearance since suffering the kidney problem against Australia in late November.

With the next round of the Six Nations not until March 10, Payne could also get extra game time when Ulster face Treviso on Friday.

He is joined in Schmidt's 36-man squad by Joey Carbery, who has also not featured since the clash with the Wallabies, having been sidelined by an ankle injury.

There also appeared to be positive news on the fitness of Rob Kearney after he underwent a scan on his groin following last weekend's win over France, the full-back named in the extended squad for the remaining rounds of this year's competition.

 

Ireland squad:

Forwards: Rory Best, Jack Conan, Ultan Dillane, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Dave Kilcoyne, Dan Leavy, Jack McGrath, Sean O'Brien, Tommy O'Donnell, Peter O'Mahony, Quinn Roux, Donnacha Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, James Tracy.

Backs: Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, Rob Kearney, Kieran Marmion, Luke Marshall, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Tiernan O'Halloran, Jared Payne, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Simon Zebo.