Ireland respond to Antoine Frisch’s France call-up and potential Munster problem

Tricky situation.

France surprised us all over the weekend when they announced that Munster centre Antoine Frisch has been called up to their Six Nations squad ahead of their final game of the championship against England on Saturday.

Born in France, Frisch represented Emerging Ireland three times during the 2022 South Africa tour, but as those games are not capped, he is free to play for his native country.

The 27-year-old joined Munster back in 2022 from Bristol Bears and he has quickly become a fan favourite with some real standout performances.

Such is the depth that Ireland have at centre with the likes of Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose, and Stuart McCloskey – it was always going to be difficult for him to break into the Irish set-up.

But should he be capped by France, the main concern is not that he will no longer be Irish-eligible. It’s the fact that he would then become an NIQ player for Munster.

This is something that has already caused them problems with John Kleyn this season, resulting in Munster having to choose between him or Snyman, with the latter sacrificed and now set to join Leinster.

Ireland coach Simon Easterby was asked about the surprise Frisch call-up today and said we will just have to wait and see if he is capped or not.

“I don’t know whether they will cap him or they’ve just got him in for training. I worked with Frischy with Emerging Ireland, and he’s a great guy, good player,” Easterby said.

He’s unfortunately in a position of real strength for us and he might get into a few other teams given the opportunity.

“I’m obviously not fully aware of the situation around what’s happening this week around his selection, but he’s a good guy, good player and if he does get capped, then obviously that will change a few things, but it’s not one for me to worry about too much right now.”

In terms of the Munster situation, Easterby acknowledged that a chat may have to be had with Frisch.

“It depends really. I certainly haven’t been involved in any conversations with Antoine, so I think that’s the important thing first – there is a conversation with Munster, with Faz (Farrell) around what his plans are.

“And then we will obviously find out a little bit more. It’s quite recent and we are probably waiting to see what happens this week, and then we can make a call on it.”

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