Here’s What We Think Ireland’s Strongest Team Is After The November Internationals
Ireland will head into next year’s Six Nations absolutely brimming with confidence after another successful November International Series. Schmidt’s men pulled off a clean sweep, winning all three games, but it’s not just the results he will be happy with.
A number of players were given opportunities, including the likes of Bundee Aki and Jacob Stockdale, with the latter arguably Ireland’s player of the series. Munster’s Andrew Conway was also given his first chance at Tier One opposition, and didn’t look one bit out of place. Nor did James Ryan.
Then there’s the likes of Rob Kearney who once again proved his doubters wrong with some excellent performances, solidifying Schmidt’s decision to go with him. Cian Healy was also hugely impressive and looks to have overtake Jack McGrath as Ireland’s preferred loosehead.
In terms of the injured players currently out, we still reckon Keith Earls will slot right back in come the Six Nations, as will Garry Ringrose, providing he returns to form pretty quickly. The Leinster centre is expected back this weekend, and should be full tilt come February. Bundee Aki has a chance of keeping him out, but he may have to settle for battling for a spot on the bench. Jared Payne’s inclusion will all depend on how soon he recovers, with a date for his return still unknown
Another player we reckon should come straight back in and onto the bench is Niall Scannell. While Tracy and Herring impressed, we still think an in-form Scannell gets the nod. Here’s how we reckon Ireland could line out for their opening Six Nations fixture against France.
Proposed Ireland vs France team.
Rory Best (captain)
Andrew Conway/Bundee Aki