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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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Hooked: Frankie Sheahan's verdict on Kidney's Ireland selection

The former Ireland and Munster hooker says Ronan O’Gara deserves his spot after showing leadership qualities in two cameo appearances.

Tommy Bowe chats to the media at Killiney Castle Hotel this morning.
Tommy Bowe chats to the media at Killiney Castle Hotel this morning.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

THE IRELAND TEAM to play Scotland in at Murrayfield has been named and shows three changes that are in the backline to the side that narrowly lost to France at the Aviva in the last outing.

Tommy Bowe is back by popular demand after he got through his game with the Ospreys last weekend. Fergus McFadden who did not put a foot wrong in the last two matches drops out of the match day 22 completely.

The other changes have come at half back where (soon to be 34-year-old) Ronan O’Gara and Eoin Reddan replace Jonathan Sexton and Tomás O’Leary respectively. O’Leary who was named this morning in the starting team had to pull out after a training injury a few hours ago. This means that Declan Kidney really only made two changes and one if you don’t count the Tommy Bowe shoo-in selection.

Jonny Sexton who played well against France will be disappointed. However, Ronan O’Gara has showed his leadership and experience when coming off the bench on the last two previous occasions so it is refreshing to see Kidney making a change on form, in this instance.

There were various other areas that I felt should have got looked at harder. It would be interesting if Tom Court started because the last time Cian Healy got dropped, he played out of his skin on his comeback. Also, Sean Cronin deserves a start, not because Rory Best has played badly but for the same reasons that O’Gara is starting ahead of Sexton.

Leo Cullen, after a fine performance last weekend, is selected on the bench again and will be hoping to build on his six-second cameo against the French on his last day out.

Back to the future

The backrow picked itself, but I would like to see Sean O’Brien at number 8 and Jamie Heaslip at 6. There could be a better balance to the backrow on this basis and it is a minimal risk punt. If it did not work, just switch them back, nothing lost!

Other low risk combinations I would like to see experimented with are Tommy Bowe in the centre with Brian O’Driscoll. I would also like to see Keith Earls at full back with Luke Fitzgerald and Andrew Trimble making up the back three. We know what we can get out out of the existing combinations so let us try something new!!

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Frankie Sheahan played 29 times for Ireland and played 14 seasons with Munster.

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