5 Irish Outsiders Who Definitely Caught The Attention Of Andy Farrell Over The Christmas
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New Ireland head coach Andy Farrell will have kept a close eye on the inter-pros over the Christmas period as he prepares to name his first Six Nations squad since been given the top job.
After yet another disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign fans are calling for change as the men in green look to bounce back in 2020 and Farell has already shown signs that he’s willing to wield the axe and usher in a new era.
Farrell held a mini-training camp last month with 45 players invited but there was no room for the likes of Rob Kearney, Jordi Murphy and Jack Carty who were all part of Ireland’s squad in Japan.
Instead, Farrell opted for predominantly youth, while also bringing a number of players in from the cold that have missed out on selection in recent squads.
Here are five players who we reckon definitely caught his attention over the Christmas if they hadn’t already.
Let’s start with an obvious one. If Andy Farrell hasn’t been impressed by this man then we should all be very worried. Cooney has been an absolute class act in every respect this season, playing a huge role in Ulster’s excellent campaign so far both in the PRO14 and in Europe. He’s banging in tries, his kicking is immaculate and his overall game has been an absolute joy to watch. As things stand – forget about just getting this man back into the squad, he should be Ireland’s starting number nine.
The big centre has been one of the most consistent centres in Ireland for a very long time but is yet to get a proper chance in an Ireland jersey. Sure Ireland are blessed in the centre at the moment with Aki, Farrell, Ringrose and Henshaw – but it’s time to start picking players on form and right now McCloskey and Ringrose are the form pairing in the country.
Despite impressing at Connacht over the last couple of years the 25-year-old is yet to be capped by Ireland but now that he’s back at Leinster he might have a better chance of a call-up. Might sound wrong but we all know it’s true. And to be fair he’s looked hugely impressive since returning to his home province and has proven he can mix it up and play well alongside the huge international contingent that now surrounds him. 2020 could finally be the year we see Kelleher in the green of Ireland.
The 2017 Lions tourist made the right decision in joining Ulster this season to get back playing regular rugby. We all know what McGrath is capable of and the force he can ben when he’s in form. Cian Healy didn’t exactly impress at the World Cup and Dave Kilcoyne is only just back from injury. McGrath’s Irish exile might very well be shortlived and he can thank Ulster and the fire in his belly for that.
The Leinster back-row has long been touted as a future Ireland international after impressing for the U20s. He’s still only 23-years-old has already racked up almost 50 caps for Leinster. He was named in the 45-man squad over the Christmas and looks like he’s definitely ready to make the step up to Test rugby.