5 Players Who Are Already Putting Their Hands Up For Ireland Selection In November

Champing at the bit.

The 2018/19 season is now well underway, with a number of fringe Irish players impressing in the early rounds while the seasoned internationals are being slowly introduced.

Player management will be key this season with a Rugby World Cup on the horizon, meaning these ‘fringe’ players will see a lot more minutes with their provinces than usual.

That means a chance to impress, and with the November internationals creeping up – an opportunity to work their way into Joe Schmidt’s plans for the international season awaits.

Here are five guys who we believe are already putting their hands up.

Darren Sweetnam
The Munster winger has been the standout performer for the southern province this season, having rediscovered the kind of form that saw him called up to the 2017 November internationals squad.

In the first two games of the season he clocked up an impressive 165 metres made, as well as making 5 clean breaks. He continued that fine form in the win over Ospreys, getting himself a try in the process.

Will Addison

The 26-year-old arrived from Sale over the summer he’s already racking up some pretty impressive stats. Addison tops the carries chart by some distance, with a simply staggering 43 carries in just two PRO14 games.

His 28 carries against Edinburgh in round 2 are a new record – no player has made more in a PRO14 match since Opta started recorded that data back in 2010/11. He’s also made plenty of ground with those carries – 181 metres, the fourth best in the league. He’s also second in the league when it comes to offloads (5).

Having trained with Ireland during their Australia tour, Addison is clearly on Schmidt’s radar. A call-up in November could very well be on the cards.

John Cooney
An obvious choice here. Cooney has been incredible so far this season, bagging a whopping 44 points in his first three games. Luke McGrath or Kieran Marmion look set to miss out providing Murray is fit, because Schmidt simply cannot overlook Cooney’s form.

His incredible place-kicking game could be a huge weapon for Ireland too. We’ve seen Murray step up in the past due to knocks picked up by Sexton, and Cooney could do the same.

Craig Gilroy
The 27-year-old has been overlooked for the last few Ireland squads, but that may soon change given his current run of form. 271 metres made in his first two games, including 4 clean breaks and a try for the ages.

If he keeps up this form, he could very well be right in the mix come November.

Cian Kelleher
An interesting one here. The 24-year-old had a quiet season last year by his standards – but that could be said for a lot of the Connacht team under Kieran Keane. Has looked sharp this year, with November perhaps an excellent opportunity to hand him his Ireland debut, perhaps against Italy or the USA.