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'He's been written off a few times' - D'Arcy left on the outside by Ireland

The 35-year-old has been omitted from Joe Schmidt’s 36-man squad for the final rounds of the Six Nations.

IS THIS THE end for Gordon D’Arcy as an Ireland player?

At the age of 35, the Wexford man has been left out of Joe Schmidt’s 36-man squad for the final two rounds of the Six Nations, after being present at Carton House as part of the preparations for the wins over Italy, France and England.

Gordon D'Arcy D'Arcy has been at Carton House training up until this point. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

D’Arcy wore Ireland’s 12 shirt as recently as November against Georgia and Australia, but the fear now must be that cap number 81 will prove to have been the last stand of a remarkable international career that began all the way back in 1999.

Not that the Leinster centre will give up hope of an international return. His mental strength has been a key factor behind his success in rugby, and the same belief that drove him to a Grand Slam, Lions tours, Heineken Cups is likely to kick in now.

Speaking at Carton House this afternoon, Ireland team manager Mick Kearney confirmed that D’Arcy’s omission from the squad was “a selection issue,” rather than on account of an injury.

Darren Cave and Ian Madigan will provide the cover for Robbie Henshaw at inside centre in D’Arcy’s absence, but Kearney refused to agree that Schmidt’s decision to leave the veteran on the outside signalled an end to his international career.

That’s a question more for the coaches than for myself,” commented Kearney when quizzed on the topic.

“Gordon has obviously been an unbelievable servant for Irish rugby. He’s back playing for Leinster again so I certainly wouldn’t rule him out for future consideration.”

Alongside Kearney at today’s media briefing was hooker Rory Best, a man who has shared some good times with D’Arcy in a green jersey, as well as some less enjoyable times.

Gordon D'Arcy with Mike Ross D'Arcy [right] in action for Ireland last November. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

The Ulsterman backed his long-time teammate to force himself back into the reckoning when he re-discovers some of his best form for Leinster.

“Obviously he’s had a few injury problems this year and I think whenever you’re not in the squad, you just want to get back playing well and then at least you have a case to take to the coaches,” said Best.

“I think knowing Gordon, he’s been written off a few times in his career and he’s got a great attitude.

He’s a great player and I think if you see him back playing well for Leinster, I don’t think Ireland have enough players to be turning down people who are playing well.”

Best actually has the same number of caps for Ireland as D’Arcy, but seems certain to hit the 82 mark this weekend against Wales. Whether or not the inside centre fights his way back from this point to add to his own collection remains to be seen.

Either way, there can be little doubt around the importance of D’Arcy’s contributions to Ireland over the last 15 years.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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