Craig Casey's form has fully warranted an Ireland call-up, according to Munster lock Billy Holland.

The scrum-half was included in Andy Farrell's panel for the upcoming Six Nations and has skipped over Ulster’s John Cooney, Connacht’s Kieran Marmion and Luke McGrath of Leinster in the pecking order.

The 21-year-old, who made his provincial debut in April 2019, is one of three number 9s in the squad alongside provincial club-mate Conor Murray and Leinster’s Jamison Gibson-Park.

"His performances have been excellent," said Holland.

"His energy on the training pitch, the growth in his game is phenomenal.

"He’s a fella who I wouldn’t enjoy playing against, he goes off at a million miles an hour, he’s full of energy. It’s not fake energy or talk. He’s everywhere.

"He covers so much ground; he’s obviously got a smart rugby brain. I’m delighted for Craig.

"He thoroughly deserves to be in the squad; his performances have spoken [volumes] and it’s great to see him in there." 

Casey was part of the Ireland U20 team that won a Grand Slam in 2019

The call-up means Munster, who play Benetton Treviso away on Saturday in the Guinness Pro14, will be without their two first-choice scrum-halves.

Forwards coach Graham Rowntree was also full of praise for the Limerick man, who weighs in at 11st 10lbs and stands 5’ 5", according to the Munster website.

"I’m not surprised after working with the guy day in, day out," said the former England international.

"He’s diligent, he’s last off the field. He’s got the most out of his physique.

"I’ve not worked with many more diligent players than Craig. He’ll be there for a long time."