Brian O’Driscoll On The One Ireland Centre Joe Schmidt Can’t Not Start

The constant.

Former Ireland, Leinster and Lions Brian O’Driscoll has weighed in on the debate as to who Joe Schmidt should select in midfield for Ireland’s Six Nations opener against England at the Aviva Stadium next month.

Schmidt has selected six centres in his squad (Henshaw, Aki, Ringrose, Chris Farrell, Tom Farrell, Addison) but of course can only select two of them to start against Eddie Jones’ men. And O’Driscoll reckons one man has to be there, and that’s Connacht’s Bundee Aki.

Through injuries to Henshaw, Ringrose and Chris Farrell – Aki has been the one constant in Ireland’s midfield. And during that time Aki has excelled no matter the matter, playing a huge role in their Grand Slam win, the series win over Australia and the historic win over the All Blacks.

“He’s (Aki) been outstanding.” O’Driscoll said.

“It’s an embarrassment of riches at centre when you think about Ringrose, Henshaw, Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell.”

“And then Tom Farrell coming into the mix, but also [Will] Addison playing so well for Ulster.”

“[But] Bundee Aki has been the constant throughout it all, through injuries to different personnel he’s been the one that’s stayed in the 12 or 13 jersey. And they’ve beaten New Zealand, they’ve won a series in Australia, they’ve won the Grand Slam – so you’d be a dangerous man to drop him.” 

We’ve always been huge advocates of Aki here, and we tend to agree with O’Driscoll. Whoever Schmidt selects – Aki has to be one of his starting centres.