Ryan Baird, of Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) Men, has been selected as one of four development players included in the Irish Six Nations squad announced today by new head coach Andy Farrell.
The four development players will attend Ireland’s warm weather camp in Portugal and will train with the squad in the lead up to their opener against Scotland.
Baird will be joined by Leinster teammates Will Connors and Harry Byrne, as well as Ulster winger Robert Baloucoune also selected for a developmental role.
Speaking after the announcement of the panel, Farrell praised the progress of the young players: “The provinces are doing a great job in developing young talent and we feel there is an opportunity in the national set-up to support that work and get a better insight into some young players that have put in strong performances for their provinces.”
While Baird is unlikely to see first team action, the call up is an opportunity to gain camp experience and to train alongside the first team regulars. Despite only having made three first team appearances for Leinster, this selection is encouraging news for Baird, who is clearly in Ireland’s new head coach’s plans for the upcoming World Cup cycle.
The 20-year-old lock has previously represented Ireland at under-18 Schools and under-19 level.
Baird was one of five DUFC players that travelled to Argentina with the Irish team to compete in the World Rugby under-20 Championship this summer. Ireland finished in eighth place in the tournament, after losing in the seventh place play-off to New Zealand. Baird scored one of Ireland’s three tries in that match.
Baird also played a key role as Ireland’s under-20s won a Six Nations Grand Slam last February.
In October 2019, former Irish rugby international Jerry Flannery described Baird as a “serious player” when he was speaking on Baz and Andrew’s House of Rugby, a podcast series run by JOE.ie.