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[2021 Six Nations] Ireland Squad

TRF_Olyy

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Backs (17):
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 30
Billy Burns (Ulster) 3
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 11
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster) *
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 24
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster) 1
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 88
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 14
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 5
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 47
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 6
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 24
James Lowe (Leinster) 2
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster) 4
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 87
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 30
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt) 95

Forwards (19):
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 17
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster) 5
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 7
Ultan Dillane (Galway Corinthians/Connacht) 17
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 25
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 104
Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 5
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 58
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 16
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 6
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 39
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 73
Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) *
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 32
Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 16
Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 26
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 32
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 46
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 28

* Denotes uncapped player
 

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big ginger 8

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Looks like JOB is injured anyway.

Like most the things that annoy me are the looseheads, outhalves, centres, and outside backs.

The looseheads situation is the dumbest one to me, it's repeating the same mistake as last time but this time with a loosehead who's only played 55 minutes this season, only one tighthead who can play both sides while the one of the other tighthead's hasn't played in a year. From the sounds of it the bubble restrictions are going to be tighter than last year so movement between the provinces won't be as easy.

With the 10s the issue is basically just Ross, I can live with it somewhat as both HB and Healy have had injuries and haven't got to start those European games Farrell had said he wanted to see them in. It's annoying but not massively so for me.

Weirdly I would have been more ok with the centres if it was the same but McCloskey wasn't there. I know most Ulster fans love him but it's the intent that his selection signals. Having said that I don't think any young centres are breaking the door down and if by some miracle we make it through the tournament with Ringrose/Hensahw intact nobody will care.

With Stockdale and JOB unavailable I'm not sure what we could realistically do differently (apart from try-scoring sensation DK) but it still bums me out haha.

I'm certainly not at TAB's level of rage, apart from the prop situation there's some ok arguments behind each selection. It's just the overall trend that is worrisome.

Happy to see Casey and O'Toole.

Ruddock is a funny one. Exactly the form type of selection so many cry out for, while also being someone who can bring loads of physicality and leadership but he's also 30 so apparently he doesn't count. One of the unluckiest internationals out there, always seems to get injured at the wrong time and the main guys to wear the six shirt during his career have been Ferris, O'Brien and O'Mahony.
 

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I'm curious about countries picking larger squads. It gives you more options and players can train together, but also increases chances of Covid spreading and if it does then it could seriously affect the championship. Based on some of the comments it feels like some players aren't necessary and maybe a slimmed down squad might have been better.
 

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I'm curious about countries picking larger squads. It gives you more options and players can train together, but also increases chances of Covid spreading and if it does then it could seriously affect the championship. Based on some of the comments it feels like some players aren't necessary and maybe a slimmed down squad might have been better.
It actually seems safer to me. Going with a tiny number like England just increases the chance that you have to bring people in at some point which I'd have thought is a bigger risk. At least this way we're covered for injuries everywhere except prop because Farrell hates looseheads for skme reason.
 

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It actually seems safer to me. Going with a tiny number like England just increases the chance that you have to bring people in at some point which I'd have thought is a bigger risk. At least this way we're covered for injuries everywhere except prop because Farrell hates looseheads for skme reason.
Hmm true.
 

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I'd hope Casey will at least get the 21 jersey for several games as we're down 3 SHs at Munster and could do with him if he won't be playing. Consequentially we have Ethan Coughlan and Paddy Patterson training with us for a short while and one of them will presumably take the 21 jersey this weekend.
 

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Casey absolutely has to be 21 and if Murray's improved form doesn't translate to international level in the first two games he should get the start week 3. Fetish's form has dropped since Autumn and he's in a fight with McGrath for the Ster spot, not quite your international level 9 there.

And also, it'd be nice to have a half back or two approaching 25 caps for the next world cup and it looks like HB and Ben Healy will be waiting until Autumn at best for that.
 

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My issue is with the scrum halves, even leaving the continued omission of John Cooney aside (for now). Gibson-Park isn't as good as Luke McGrath for Leinster. As for Craig Casey, I haven't seen enough of him to have a clear picture of how good he is, but I thought bringing him on in place of Murray lost Munster the game against Leinster. Three points down, five minutes to go, and every time he picks up the ball he kicks it away. If you're going to blood a young scrum half, I think Caolin Blade is probably a better bet from what I've seen of them both.

But back to Cooney. He is, by some distance, a better scrum half than anyone in Ireland with the exception of Conor Murray, and has been for two or three years. I'd love to know what the Ireland coaching team have against him. People have pointed to the fact that it took him a few games to get back to his best after the lockdown, but that ignores the fact that Joe Schmidt ignored him for two years before that when he was in consistently great form and Murray wasn't. I'm honestly baffled.
 

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My issue is with the scrum halves, even leaving the continued omission of John Cooney aside (for now). Gibson-Park isn't as good as Luke McGrath for Leinster. As for Craig Casey, I haven't seen enough of him to have a clear picture of how good he is, but I thought bringing him on in place of Murray lost Munster the game against Leinster. Three points down, five minutes to go, and every time he picks up the ball he kicks it away. If you're going to blood a young scrum half, I think Caolin Blade is probably a better bet from what I've seen of them both.
Casey is five years younger than Blade and a very promising talent, he hasn't looked out of depth in European rugby. Absolutely had to be included.

JGP and McGrath are much of a muchness really, I reckon the difference is JGP provides far quicker service and his bad games are nowhere near as detrimental to his team than McGrath's are.
But back to Cooney. He is, by some distance, a better scrum half than anyone in Ireland with the exception of Conor Murray, and has been for two or three years. I'd love to know what the Ireland coaching team have against him.
I reckon it's his slow service, (every 9 named in your post is a better passer of the ball apart from McGrath) he's absolutely great for Ulster but it's because he's their primary playmaker and can afford the extra time on the ball. This doesn't really translate to international level as proven by the fact he has 11 largely forgettable caps. The style of play only works for 9s at international level who are incredibly quick and evasive, Dupont and Faf are they only real examples in the past few years of guys who make it work. Cooney doesn't have those attributes and loses a lot of what sets him apart at provincial level is lost with less time on the ball at international level.

He's also 30 now, I don't think that matters much to this coaching team to be fair but if we had 3/4 halfbacks in our match day squad who were 30+ it'd be desperate.
People have pointed to the fact that it took him a few games to get back to his best after the lockdown, but that ignores the fact that Joe Schmidt ignored him for two years before that when he was in consistently great form and Murray wasn't. I'm honestly baffled.
I agree that Joe should have tried something with him in 2019, Murray was awful that year and Joe's reliance on him and a few others was his downfall. Ultimately he's a player who should feel hard done by, but hard done by for not getting to 20caps rather than never being a guaranteed starter. As stated earlier, he does have some pretty big flaws that are hidden by Ulster's style of play.
 

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Ireland still open to prospect of Porter switching to loosehead as Furlong returns https://the42.ie/5337129

I know some people here are very much for this but I'm definitely a bit reluctant. Having two top tightheads is a massive asset and given the attrition rate of professional rugby a necessity if we want to compete. It would probably be a rather good short term fix but it would still worry me. Obviously Farrell has determined none of the younger looseheads are currently up to task. It probably helps that he apparently rates O'Toole so highly.
 

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Ireland still open to prospect of Porter switching to loosehead as Furlong returns https://the42.ie/5337129

I know some people here are very much for this but I'm definitely a bit reluctant. Having two top tightheads is a massive asset and given the attrition rate of professional rugby a necessity if we want to compete. It would probably be a rather good short term fix but it would still worry me. Obviously Farrell has determined none of the younger looseheads are currently up to task. It probably helps that he apparently rates O'Toole so highly.
Absolutely agree here. I find it so odd that it is being talked about right now also, considering Porter has essentially been the only tighthead we've used for 12 months. If he's in second on the depth chart on both sides what happens when he gets injured? Seems really shortsighted and honestly daft from Farrell.
 

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Totally agree with what's been said. Porter was on track to be a world class LH, and was switched early enough to give him a chance as a TH. Don't go back on that, it just serves to waste the past few years and stall his process for about half a season again.
 

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Stockdale 'not far away' as McFarland bids to make Ulster's break work for them https://the42.ie/5355244

So Stockdale won't be back for Italy, which probably makes it a bit harder for him to start the remaining games you'd imagine, although Farrell might consider him an auto starter.

Rough on Baloucuone getting a high ankle sprain while coming back from his injury. Addison was obviously cursed by @TRF_Olyy.

Sexton and Murray set to be back from injury for Ireland's clash with Italy https://the42.ie/5355516

Think a lot of us will be disappointed with the halfbacks selection for Italy.
 

TRF_Olyy

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Rough on Baloucuone getting a high ankle sprain while coming back from his injury. Addison was obviously cursed by @TRF_Olyy.
We'll have him back if you don't want him,
He can make a midfield with Redpath
 

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Stockdale 'not far away' as McFarland bids to make Ulster's break work for them https://the42.ie/5355244

So Stockdale won't be back for Italy, which probably makes it a bit harder for him to start the remaining games you'd imagine, although Farrell might consider him an auto starter.

Rough on Baloucuone getting a high ankle sprain while coming back from his injury. Addison was obviously cursed by @TRF_Olyy.

Sexton and Murray set to be back from injury for Ireland's clash with Italy https://the42.ie/5355516

Think a lot of us will be disappointed with the halfbacks selection for Italy.
Casey gon get dropped lol. Probably Burns too. Cooney and HB out of the squad.

"How to make three provinces fans hate you in four quick and easy steps, Eddie O'Sullivan LOVES him"

Perfect opportunity for a coach with half a brain to start Casey and Sexton and finish Murray and HB, I have no faith in that though.
 

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The madman is genuinely going to start Sexton and Murray with JGP and Burns/R. Byrne on the bench and we're going to win by 8 points. Watch Casey get sent home with things to work on because he needs more experience to play against a 19 year old 9.
 

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The madman is genuinely going to start Sexton and Murray with JGP and Burns/R. Byrne on the bench and we're going to win by 8 points. Watch Casey get sent home with things to work on because he needs more experience to play against a 19 year old 9.
 
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