Former Irish International Sees One Problem With Joe Schmidt’s Ireland Team For Italy Clash

Joe Schmidt named his Ireland side this afternoon for their clash with Italy on Saturday.

The Ireland boss decided to stick with the same side that started against Scotland, bar two men. Out goes Jack McGrath and Iain Henderson, in comes Cian Healy and Donnacha Ryan.

A huge talking point this week was the Irish back-row. While Ireland seems to have an embarrassment of riches in that particular position, it seems Schmidt almost has too much choice, and has struggled to find the perfect combination. The decision was made much easier once again this weekend, with Peter O’Mahony still ruled out, but former Ireland international David Corkery still believes he went with the wrong combination regardless.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Rugby Podcast, Corkery says it is a missed opportunity to not change around the back-row, adding that he would make at least one change, with Jamie Heaslip the man he would sacrifice.

“I am disappointed with the back row selection. It would have been Heaslip, van der Flier would have been in,” Corkery said when ask who he would drop from the team.

“Jamie Heaslip has been magnificent and has played his best rugby in the last two years. He has matured.

“You have to have an out-and-out seven. You have to have a dog who is prepared to put his head where you wouldn’t put a brick, especially at the breakdown.

“We didn’t have one against Scotland. We had too many guys just waiting out to get the ball and take it up again.

“We didn’t have someone of Peter O’Mahony’s ability…he’s a Rottweiler. It’s the best way to describe him in the game.

“He’s there, he’s at the breakdown, he’s fighting, putting huge pressure on the nine to get rid of the ball.”

Follow Me