Ireland Boss Andy Farrell Explains Reasoning Behind Dropping Sexton, Healy & Earls

Staying home.

Ireland boss Andy Farrell has confirmed captain Johnny Sexton, Keith Earls and Cian Healy are all fit and available for selection after he omitted the veteran trio from his summer squad.

Farrell has instead decided to use the fixtures against Japan and the USA next month to blood in some inexperienced players instead, as he looks to build more depth as we reach the halfway point of the current World Cup cycle.

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The fact that all three are fit and ready to go bodes well for a possible late Lions call-up with all three players on the fringes should any more players be forced to withdraw from the squad.

Farrell is set to fly over to South Africa and link up with the Lions as an assistant coach after Ireland’s two games and he said Earls is certainly being monitored by Warren Gatland.

“Warren is certainly aware of all of this and Keith is certainly in that bracket as well because he was playing some outstanding rugby during that Six Nations so I’m sure he’s on the radar as well,” Farrell said.

But Farrell is hoping that the extended break will allow Sexton, Healy, and Earls to hit the ground running next season should the call not come.

“I spoke to him [Sexton] yesterday. We are very lucky here that we see the right people about the right thing. The specialists are the ones who make the judgement and as far as the specialists are concerned, Johnny is good to go,” Farell continued.

“There are no problems there whatsoever and who am I to go against that.

“And the reason for that is it gives opportunities to other lads and these lads understand that and hopefully agree with that and for them to have a proper rest and on top of that, come back and have a proper pre-season where they can make gains with their body and come back into the start of next season with the fire burning rapidly is going to benefit us all in the long-term.

“For Johnny, Cian, Keith, and a few other lads as well they will now probably get eight or nine weeks of a pre-season, which they can probably make gains with while other lads might get four or five. So, there is a reason behind that.”