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'He knows what it takes not just to address a dressing room, but to be a young guy who gets his chance'

Garry Doyle, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey broke down Andy Farrell’s Six Nations squad selection on Thursday’s Rugby Weekly.

Andy Farrell addressing Jordan Larmour during Ireland training in 2018.
Andy Farrell addressing Jordan Larmour during Ireland training in 2018.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

ON THIS WEEK’S Rugby Weekly podcast by The42, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey were joined by exciting young debutant Garry Doyle, the newest addition to our own squad, to discuss Andy Farrell’s Six Nations selection and Johnny Sexton’s Ireland captaincy.

Garry made an Eoghan Barrett-esque start to podcasting life in this parish, also unleashing an impassioned defence of Munster despite their European woes this term.

The lads also predicted how Ireland might line out against Scotland for their Six Nations opener in just 16 days’ time, with a couple of differences at scrum-half and in the back row in particular.

The full podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and your usual spots.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

Here’s a taster in written form, beginning with Garry’s assessment of Farrell’s first squad selection at the Ireland helm.

Garry Doyle: “I think it was really important for Farrell to put his stamp on this squad in this way. The reason I say that is when the World Cup went south, a lot of people were referencing the Schmidt-Farrell partnership — which is a bit unfair because if anybody is his own man, it’s Joe Schmidt.

“Farrell had to draw a line through his role in the previous era and also make it clear that this was his era.

There are 12 players who featured in the World Cup who aren’t in this squad. That in itself is a huge statement. But at the same time, there’s plenty of continuity because the team that will start [versus Scotland] you would imagine will be pretty much the guys who were in Japan with one or two exceptions. In that respect he has been clever: he’s achieved both continuity and change. And that’s a difficult thing to do.

“You’ve also got to remember, there are so many young players that have been given the chance.

Farrell was 16 when he made his debut for Wigan. He walked into probably the most hard-nosed dressing room in British sport at that stage — really successful team. And he was 16. And he was earning 50 quid a week as a joiner; he was getting up at half-five in the morning, going and doing an hour’s training, doing his joinery apprenticeship, and then doing training again in the evening with the most successful rugby league team of that era.

“So he knows what it takes not just to address a dressing room, but also what it takes to be a young guy who gets his chance.

“For him, the idea that you’ve got a number beside your name that says you’re 21 — that means nothing to him. At 21, he was captain of Wigan and captain of Great Britain. He won 29 of his 34 caps for Great Britain’s rugby league team as captain.”

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caelan-doris-after-the-game Leinster's Caelan Doris. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Garry went on to suggest 21-year-old Caelan Doris will start at number eight in a couple of weeks’ time, but he did stress that he doesn’t believe Farrell will make radical changes beyond those enforced by retirements and the passing of time.

Instead, he believes we’ll see “subtle changes” when the Ireland team is named.

Garry: “Like, already you’re without Rory Best and Rob Kearney, so you could say there’s a leadership vacuum, but then there are players who are really quiet but are good leaders like [Robbie] Henshaw and [Garry] Ringrose.

I think the team that will play against Scotland will have a huge number of players that featured prominently in Japan, but there will be some changes. Rory Best isn’t there, so [Rob] Herring is the likeliest to start. Then, in the back row, I wouldn’t be surprised if Doris gets his opportunity but [Josh] van der Flier and [Peter] O’Mahony will still probably start as well. If [Conor] Murray loses out — and there’s no guarantee that he will — and John Cooney comes in, you’ve still got a backline that’ll largely be the backline that started the key games in Japan; Rob Kearney going out, Jordan Larmour coming in is the difference. So, I think the radical changes are in the squad. I don’t think there’ll be too many radical changes in the starting 15.

peter-omahony Murray Kinsella and Garry Doyle have differing opinions as to whether Peter O'Mahony will start for Ireland against Scotland. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Murray gave a detailed insight into why Peter O’Mahony’s form may have dipped over the last 12 months, and suspects the Munster captain may lose out on a starting berth in Ireland’s back row against Scotland. Garry, meanwhile, believes O’Mahony will retain his place in the starting 15.

He also explained why he feels Farrell will stick with Conor Murray at scrum-half despite the electrifying form of John Cooney, his thoughts which you can listen to in the podcast.

Murray Kinsella: “I really fancy Ireland to have a change at six. I actually thought Ruddock was going to be in the mix. Andy Farrell didn’t rate his form as highly as the rest of us have — I think they spoke on the phone and Ruddock said he didn’t feel he was playing at his very best, so there’s a challenge for him.

But I think Stander shifting there [is likely] — Stander’s been playing well. Even if you know exactly what you’re going to get, he does consistently bring those power moments. I think he’ll shift to six, Doris with lineout skill at eight, and Van der Flier [at seven].

Garry: “My hunch would be that it’ll be Healy, Herring, Furlong; Henderson or Toner you don’t know — we’re guessing — but Ryan will start; O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris; I think he’ll stick with Murray, Sexton; and then in the backfield Larmour, Stockdale and Earls. And Henshaw and Ringrose in the centre.”

You can listen back to Thursday’s Rugby Weekly in full wherever you get your podcasts, or at the SoundCloud link below from which you can also download it.

Impressive debutant Garry Doyle joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to sift through Andy Farrell’s Six Nations squad selection, talk Ireland captaincy, and much more. 

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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