- Nov 5, 2017
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Agreed. Given that we've been seeing mediocre play from 9 for nearly 3 years now I'm surprised Blade hasn't gotten a chance. Maybe it wouldn't work out but he does deserve a go. Consistently good for Connacht and behind the weakest pack of the provinces.Some thoughts on halfbacks. Billy Burns 's strengths for Ulster are his short kicking game - chips, grubbers, high balls for teammates to chase and compete for - and orchestrating back line running moves. But that's a high-risk game, and Ireland are a safety-first team. He also doesn't do the goal kicking for Ulster unless John Cooney isn't there, so I don't know how reliable he is - he missed a fairly straightforward penalty against France. Ross Byrne is an incredibly reliable goal kicker and touch kicker and a safe pair of hands, so he perhaps suits Ireland's style of play better. But he lacks a certain amount of attacking creativity, so if you're going to go with him, I think you need to pair him with a more adventurous scrum-half like Cooney or Caolin Blade. I'm a fan of playmaking scrum-halves, and Cooney and Blade are the nearest we have to someone like Antoine Dupont. I'm an Ulster fan and can bore on with the best of them about Cooney's Ireland credentials, but I can't believe Blade doesn't have a single senior Ireland cap.
Baloucoune to be fair probably would be capped right now if he hadn't gotten an injury. Tom O'Toole is another who's been backed but hasn't got on the pitch yet.Mad how much an ACL makes you forget about someone.
Farrell's first squad actually had HB, Baloucuone, Baird and Deegan in it. Admittedly the first three were apprentice players. I think Baird was definitely in line to make his debut in the Autumn before getting injured but obviously that's all supposition.
Andy Farrell has named a 35 player squad which will be captained by Johnny Sexton for the upcoming 2020 Guinness Six Nations Championship. There are five uncapped players named in Ulster's Billy Burns and Tom O’Toole and the Leinster trio Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher. The coachiwww.irishrugby.ie
Overall I do think the point stands that Keenan is the only player who didn't have to be capped but was while also working out really well and going on to become a starter. I do have some sympathy for Farrell because he has tried in some places and been stymied by both injury and a pandemic but I still think his record isn't good enough. I can understand leaving Casey on the bench if we had Conor Murray at his peak but I don't think anyone outside the Ireland coaching box rated JGP as a guy we needed for 80 minutes on Sunday.
Casey, Baird and Harry Byrne should really all be on the pitch against Italy and I can't see any real justification to not have them involved. Kelleher should start that game too if nothing else.