The Best Centre In Ireland Statistically Speaking Is Not Who You Think

The big man.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt recently named a 44-man strong Rugby World Cup training squad ahead of Japan that will eventually have to be whittled down to 31.

There were some surprise inclusions, such as Munster’s Mike Haley and Jean Kleyn, while a number of players were unlucky to miss out. But one name that keeps coming up is a certain Stuart McCloskey who was nowhere to be seen in Schmidt’s squad.

With the Ulster centre left out of the training squad, there’s pretty much no hope he will be in the final 31, unless there’s a hell of a lot of injuries. But should he fee aggrieved? Well if you look at the stats, yes he should.

McCloskey ranks first in pretty much every category ahead of Ireland first choice centres Bundee Aki, Chris Farrell, Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw, including in key areas such as carries, metres made, offloads, passes, tackles and turnovers won.

A very strange decision to not even include him in the extended training squad when you look at the stats.