Ireland Squad For South Africa
The Ireland squad has been named for the three game tour of South Africa with new boys Sean Reidy and Quinn Roux the only two new names in the squad with a number of young bucks like Ringrose and Mc Closkey being left behind in favour of more experienced heads.
Lads like Matt Healy and Craig Gilroy can feel very aggrieved at being left out because this season they proved they could finish off any chances that came there way. Schmidt has again gone for the tried and trusted with the majority of players that played in The Six Nations.
You has to admire his loyalty to the players that have been so successful in his time as Ireland Head Coach. To me there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of forward planning with Japan 2019 in mind or even the November Tests later in the year. You can’t honestly blood new talent against Australia , New Zealand and that again like 2014 leaves only the Canada game where any new players will only get one game to show what they can do before the 2017 Six Nations.
Here is a mad idea, sacrifice one Test in South Africa and put a whole different XV on the field and see how they get on. The third test would be the ideal situation to put this theory into practice. I may being very naïve but pardon me , this all very similar to the period between 2011 and 2015. Although to puncture that period Six Nations wins in 2013 and 2014 put Ireland to the head of the table in Europe even though the 2014 win was on point’s difference.
Schmidt has decided to go with two out halves in Jackson and Sexton with Stuart Olding to cover the out half position if he is required. In the forwards , Tommy O Donnell and Chris Henry have been dropped with Sean Reidy and Quinn Roux the men to profit and gain the opportunity to win a first cap.
To me it just looks like Schmidt doesn’t really have any faith in young players at this moment and I think the good will that has been shown to him in 2013 and 2014 is beginning to run thin with young players not being thrown in at the deep end. It just feels that the opportunities will be few and far between to give these guys the chance to show what they can do.
Gary Ringrose and Stuart Mc Closkey should have been given the chance to try and form a partnership that could work into the future also trying out , Henshaw and Ringrose as a combo was a missed chance I feel.
Also the fact that Jared Payne will not most probably be Robbie Henshaw’s long term partner again with the World Cup in 2019 in mind , these summer tests should be used to test out players. The IRFU will of course want Joe Schmidt and his coaches to deliver at least one win in South Africa. This is the first test series in South Africa for Ireland since 2004.
Here’s hoping that at least one win can be achieved and the rough season at International level can end on a high. All the good work at provincial level that saw Connacht , Ulster and Leinster make the Pro 12 Semi Finals can give the National side the boost the need and hopefully help seal a first Test win in South Africa….
Cian Mc Gibney