Ireland Boss Andy Farrell Explains His Thought Process Following Surprise Ireland Team Selection

Round 2.

Ireland boss Andy Farrell surprised us all with his team selection today as his side get set to take on old rivals England at Twickenham in the Autumn Nations Cup this weekend.

Farrell has gone with a back-row of CJ Stander at six, Peter O’Mahony at seven and Caelan Doris, while retaining Jamison Gibson-Park with Conor Murray having to make do with a spot on the bench once again.

James Ryan will captain the side in Johnny Sexton’s absence with Ross Byrne getting the nod at outhalf over Billy Burns. Keith Earls meanwhile comes back in onto the right with Hugo Keenan at fullback and Jacob Stockdale on the bench.

It’s the first time in nine years Ireland have started a game against England without Sexton or Murray. Farrell said he’s “excited” about the selection and made it clear that Ross Byrne “deserves” his start despite his poor showing against England last time around before the World Cup.

“I’m excited about it,” Farrell said.

“There are a few changes in there, the big one being James getting to lead this side, and for guys getting the opportunity for first starts at Twickenham.”

“Ross Byrne deserves it,” said Farrell of the Leinster man starting at 10.

“He deserves his chance. It’s like others. How do you find out if they are ready for the big games and big occasions, without giving them a chance in the big occasions?”

On Keenan starting at fullback, Farrell said the Leinsterman deserves another shot.

“Hugo deserves another start again. His first time to start at Twickenham… we’ll learn more about Hugo in that position after the game.” Farrell added.

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