Left At Home
Ireland happy that SOB and POM understand omission from Chicago trip
Ireland’s uncapped players are adapting to the squad environment with ease.

Murray Kinsella reports from Trump Tower

IRELAND ARE HAPPY that Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony understand their omissions from the squad to face New Zealand at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Saturday.

Openside flanker O’Brien has only recently returned from a hamstring injury, while blindside O’Mahony is also still moving back towards full match fitness after almost a year out of the game following ACL surgery.

Craig Gilroy, Rob Kearney and Devin Toner Dan Sheridan / INPHO Ireland arrived in Chicago yesterday evening. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

New Zealand’s Jerome Kaino yesterday expressed his surprise to see the high-profile pair left out of Ireland’s travelling squad, with Joe Schmidt having instead selected Josh van der Flier, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip and CJ Stander as his back row options.

Speaking in Chicago today, Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell hinted that O’Brien and O’Mahony hadn’t readily accepted the decision to leave them at home, but stressed that both players understood the call.

“They came into camp and trained with us for the day before we left,” said Farrell. “Being the animals that they are, of course every international player wants to be involved as much as they possibly can.

But they understand that we’ve got players in form, players that have played quite a lot of minutes. They’re team players and squad players as well, so they understand.”

Indeed, on pure form and fitness it is hard to argue with Schmidt’s decision to leave the experienced duo in Ireland.

O’Brien and O’Mahony are set to feature for Leinster and Munster in the Guinness Pro12 this weekend, and seem likely to have some involvement with Ireland later this month, possibly for the second clash against the All Blacks on 19 November in Dublin.

“We’ll see,” said Farrell of that prospect. “There’s a lot of rugby to be played until the next time we play the All Blacks back in Dublin, so there’s a game this weekend that hopefully they’ll play in and get some more game time.

Andrew Trimble, Jack McGrath, Tadgh Furlong, Josh van der Flier and Jordi Murphy Dan Sheridan / INPHO Ireland take a stroll in Chicago. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“There’s another game against Canada [on 12 November] and we’ll see what selection throws up for that. There’s hopefully some good form that’s going to happen throughout the squad over the next couple of weeks.

“We’ll have some hard decisions to be made, hopefully, later on in the autumn series.”

Meanwhile, Farrell stated his pleasure at how the new faces in the Ireland squad have adapted to the environment.

The uncapped Joey Carbery, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Luke McGrath and Garry Ringrose – several of whom have had training experience with Ireland before this month – all travelled to Chicago.

The environment is one of togetherness and helping each other out,” said Farrell. “We’re constant with our detail and not just with individual detail, but team and collective detail and helping each other along.

“You’d have to speak to the youngsters, but I would think they’re in a great place at this moment in time. I’m sure they’ve come into the environment and thought, ‘This is where I want to be and I want to shine in this type of environment.’”

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