Former Irish International Calls For Two Big Changes Ahead Of England Game

Former Irish international Tony Ward has called for two big changes for Ireland ahead of their clash with England on Saturday.

Already Six Nations champions, Eddie Jones’ men come to Dublin this weekend in search of a second successive Grand Slam title and hoping to topple the All Blacks’ unbeaten Test record.

In his Irish Independent column, Ward says while we would like to see a number of a young faces in the Irish squad, this weekend is not the time for it as Ireland look to cling on to a top four ranking spot ahead of the Rugby World Cup seedings.

He does however see two changes that should be made that will make Ireland better off for the fixture. The first would see Peter O’Mahony come into the back-row.

We have a batch of back-rows that are among the best in the world but, as is often the case in sport, the crucial factor is to pick the best balance for the team rather than necessarily the best players.

Ward thinks Heaslip should be the man to make way for the Munster captain.

My views on Jamie Heaslip and his worth to Ireland are well established; however, on the basis of four into three still won’t go, I would instigate change in swapping Peter O’Mahony, not for Stander, but for Heaslip.
The second change he would like to see is Jared Payne coming back into the side, but not in place of young centre Garry Ringrose, but rather a fullback instead of ROb Kearney.
Rob Kearney has been likewise across many years but, to get Jared Payne into the side, I would take out the Leinster man rather than tamper with the centre combination.
Garry Ringrose is under pressure but Payne’s practical and communicative skills are much better and would help Ringrose batten down the Jonathan Joseph 13/15 channel. It might seem harsh to cut Kearney from the match-day squad altogether, but I believe Craig Gilroy’s superior attacking skills would serve as a much better option off the bench.

What do you think? Do you agree?

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