Ulster hooker Tom Stewart has been called into the Ireland squad ahead of Saturday's Six Nations opener against Wales after Rónan Kelleher suffered a hamstring injury in training.

Former Ireland U20 international Stewart has linked up with Andy Farrell’s squad at their Algarve training camp as they build towards their trip to the Principality Stadium.

Kelleher has remained in Portugal and will be managed by the Ireland medical team over the coming days.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong remain on course to make their returns from injury against Wales.

Stewart has scored seven tries for Ulster this season

With Dan Sheehan expected to start in Cardiff, the uncapped Stewart will battle with Ulster team-mate Rob Herring for a place on the bench.

Stewart, who turned 22 on 11 January, has been in excellent form for Ulster this season, scoring seven tries in 11 appearances. He made his ninth start of the campaign in last Friday's BKT United Rugby Championship win over the DHL Stormers.

Rónan Kelleher missed Ireland's autumn Tests due to injury

Stewart featured twice for Emerging Ireland during their autumn tour of South Africa and was also part of the match-day preparations for the Ireland 'A’ game against an All Blacks XV in November.

The Belfast man's addition brings the number of Emerging Ireland tourists in Farrell’s senior squad to five, with Jack Crowley, Joe McCarthy, Jamie Osborne and Cian Prendergast also included.

Ireland were 29-7 winners over Wales last year but they have tasted defeat on their last four visits to Cardiff in the Six Nations.

Saturday's contest will be Warren Gatland’s first game back in charge of Wales after he replaced Wayne Pivac last month.

Ireland Six Nations squad

Backs: Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Keith Earls, Jamison Gibson-Park, Mack Hansen, Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Jimmy O'Brien, Jamie Osborne, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

Forwards: Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Gavin Coombes, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Joe McCarthy, Peter O’Mahony, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, Cian Prendergast, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Tom Stewart, Josh van der Flier.

Follow every game of the Guinness Six Nations on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the RTÉ News app, or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.

Watch live coverage of Ireland v France (11 February), Italy v Ireland (25 February) and Scotland v Ireland (12 March) on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.