5 players Schmidt could bring to Argentina in place of Robbie Henshaw

With the Connacht man unfortunately ruled out, Ireland have a free spot in their touring squad.

ROBBIE HENSHAW HAS unfortunately been ruled out of Ireland’s tour to Argentina with a hand ligament injury, when it looked as though he would start at least one of the two Tests in the 13 shirt.

Still just 20 years of age, the Connacht tyro is certain to add to his three international caps over the coming seasons. His physicality, focused mindset and ever-growing skill levels mean he will come back into the Ireland fray when he recovers full fitness.

Head coach Joe Schmidt must now name a replacement for Henshaw in the squad and we’ve taken a look at some of the options available to the Kiwi, in no particular order.

Eoin Griffin

Henshaw’s teammate at Connacht this season, Griffin is heading for London Irish this summer on a two-year contract. Having first burst onto the scene as an outside centre, the 23-year-old made 10 starts in the 12 shirt for Connacht during this campaign.

Eoin Griffin Griffin is heading for London Irish next season. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

It will be interesting to note how his move to the Premiership affects his involvement with the Ireland set-up in the longer-term, but Griffin has been named as part of the Emerging Ireland squad to travel to Romania next month. Is it time for a promotion?

Brendan Macken

The former Blackrock College star is also a member of Dan McFarland’s Emerging Ireland squad, and is a ‘natural’ 13 thanks to his pace and evasion skills. At 6ft 2ins and close to 100kg, Macken is a fine physical specimen, although doubts remain over his distribution.

Brendan Macken Macken made his first two Heineken Cup starts this season. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Two starts in the Heineken Cup for Leinster this season were important for the 23-year-old’s development, and Macken may yet take on more responsibility at the province next season.

Andrew Conway

With Darren Cave now potentially set to start both Tests in the 13 shirt, and Keith Earls and Fergus McFadden providing cover there, Schmidt may opt to bring an additional player in another position on tour.

Andrew Conway If Schmidt is comfortable with Earls and McFadden covering 13, he may include another back three player. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Conway began to spark for Munster late this season, even if he did remain outside the first team on the bigger occasions. Similarly, fellow Emerging Ireland back three players Craig Gilroy [who is in good form], Michael Allen and Johne Murphy present interesting options.

Gordon D’Arcy

The 34-year-old Leinster man was one of those who Schmidt and his management team opted to leave at home when initially naming their touring squad. D’Arcy has had a heavy season in helping Ireland to the Six Nations title and driving his province’s progress into the Pro12 final.

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Gordon DÕArcy D'Arcy was expecting a summer of rest before pre-season 2014/15. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The Wexford man covers both centre positions, and offers a wealth of experience and defensive quality. Still, Schmidt is most likely keen to ensure that D’Arcy gets an extended break this summer with a long 2014/15 season ahead, thereby suggesting that the veteran will not be heading for Argentina.

Noel Reid

The second-five-eighth has greatly impressed many Leinster fans this season with his passing game in the 12 shirt, while the 24-year-old does look to have improved physically as well.

Noel Reid Reid makes a break for Leinster 'A' in the B&I Cup final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Reid, formerly an out-half, offers an interesting option for his province at inside centre with his distribution and ability to break himself. With Cave now set to play exclusively at 13, Schmidt may opt for back-up to Luke Marshall at 12, with Reid offering exactly that.

Who would you like to see come into the Ireland squad in place of Henshaw? This is by no means a definitive list of the possibilities, so let us know your thoughts…

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Murray Kinsella

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