Rugby Six Nations: Johnny Sexton to captain Ireland as Andy Farrell’s reign begins

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Rugby Jonathan Sexton

Sexton (right), Ireland’s second highest points scorer of all time, succeeds Rory Best as Ireland captain
Guinness Six Nations
Dates:1 February-14 March
Coverage:Watch live coverage on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, Connected TVs and online; listen to match commentaries, shows and podcasts on BBC Radio 5 live, sports extra, BBC Scotland, BBC Ulster, BBC Wales and BBC Sounds; follow text updates on the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Johnny Sexton will succeed Rory Best as Ireland captain after being chosen to lead Andy Farrell’s first squad.

The Leinster fly-half is a doubt for the start of the Six Nations having picked up a knee injury last month but is still named in the 35-man squad.

Ulster backs John Cooney and Billy Burns have been rewarded for their impressive form, but Stuart McCloskey misses out.

Lock Devin Toner is also included after his Rugby World Cup squad omission.

Sexton, 34, captained Ireland from the start for the first time against Russia at the World Cup, but has long since held a leadership role within the squad.

With 88 international caps, prop Cian Healy (95) is the only player in the squad to have made more appearances than the new skipper.

With Joey Carbery’s injury and Jack Carty’s exclusion, Ross Byrne and Burns, uncapped at international level, will jostle for the back-up fly-half spot and could find themselves starting against Scotland on 1 February if Sexton is unable to prove his fitne

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