Shane Horgan On The Four Big Selection Changes Ireland Need To Make


It was another disappointing run out against England for Ireland yesterday evening as they fell to a 24-12 defeat at Twickenham in the Six Nations.

Mistakes from Johnny Sexton and Jacob Stockdale in the first-half gifted George Ford and Elliot Daly tries with Owen Farrell converting both and adding a penalty to make it 17-0 at the break.

Robbie Henshaw bagged an early second-half try to give the men in green hope but Luke Cowan-Dickie sealed the result for the hosts with England’s third try on the hour mark. Andrew Porter grabbed a late consolation to put some gloss on the scoreline.

So what next for Ireland? While 24-12 might not sound like the biggest of defeats away from home to the 2019 Rugby World Cup finalists – most will agree the scoreline certainly flattered Ireland.

A number of players underperformed and if Ireland want to have any hope of beating France in Paris on the final day, changes will likely be needed. Speaking after the game, former Ireland winger Shane Horgan identified four key switches he reckons Andy Farrell should make.

“Well, I think [Caelen] Doris would have been there if not for that injury in the first game. I think he has to go in,” Horgan said.

“You look at [Ronan] Kelleher as a ball carrier, somebody that is explosive. We’ve seen elements of what we want to see from him.

“I think you’ve got to see John Cooney as well. Murray had a poor game. I think he’s not helped by our strategy.

“He’s not box-kicking those box-kicks because it has come into his head for the first time on the pitch. That’s the plan that has been put into place, he’s been told to box-kick in certain circumstances.

“In some ways, I feel for him, but I think you have to have the change there. That’s the starting point. I think [Iain] Henderson has to come back in as a ball carrier.

“It will make a difference.”

So there you have it. Kelleher in at hooker, Doris into the back-row, Cooney for Murray and Iain Henderson back in ahead of Devin Toner. What do you think? Would you make more changes?

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