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'It probably illustrates the way Ireland are looking to develop their attack'

Ireland’s out-half situation was discussed on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra.

Ross Byrne missed out as younger brother Harry made the Ireland squad.
Ross Byrne missed out as younger brother Harry made the Ireland squad.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

WITH JOHNNY SEXTON being rested for Ireland’s two Tests next month, it was always going to be fascinating to see who Andy Farrell picked as his out-half options.

The Ireland head coach has gone for the returning Joey Carbery, the uncapped Harry Byrne, and the retained Billy Burns.

Ross Byrne is among those who miss out on the Ireland squad, as Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella discussed on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday.

Today’s pod involved a breakdown of each positional group in the Ireland squad, as Eoin and Murray chatted about the 11 uncapped players and those who were omitted, including Ross Byrne. Farrell said the Leinster man does have an ankle issue at present, but indicated Ireland would still have picked Carbery, Harry Byrne, and Burns even if he had been fit.

Murray: “Ross Byrne misses out to his younger brother. You’d be delighted for your younger brother in one sense but sickened for yourself, it’s a really tough and strange dynamic for the family.”

Eoin: “It is and in the high-profile games particularly at provincial level, if you look at that Exeter game when Ross Byrne was kind of thrust into the fire when Leinster were really on the back foot, I thought he displayed a huge amount of composure and gave direction to the team.

“His goal-kicking was almost foot-perfect throughout the Pro14 this season, so he has delivered when called upon at provincial level.

“Obviously, the coaching staff might see something different in Harry Byrne in terms of how they want to play. Mike Catt wants to set up their attack where they maybe want more of an attacking threat from that 10 position.

“Joey Carbery offers that and it probably illustrates the way Ireland are looking to develop their attack and maybe not so much a poor reflection on Ross Byrne.

“I think they understand his capabilities and composure under pressure, which are key attributes at international level.

“I don’t think you’d write off Ross Byrne at this stage, it’s probably the coaches just wanting to get a look at Carbery and Harry Byrne given their lack of minutes this season.”

Murray: “And Joey Carbery did look really sharp against Zebre last weekend. I know it was weak opposition but he was kicking beautifully from the tee and from hand as well – some really nice touches and really good decision-making from him.

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“It’s obviously still a work in progress coming back from so long out of the game, it was never going to be straight away clicking into the old Joey Carbery but this again will give him a nice boost in confidence being back in the environment and kick things on from there.

“He’ll get a good pre-season under his belt in the summer and be flying for next season.”

Today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra also involved the lads looking back on Munster and Leinster’s season-concluding wins last weekend, with the performances of Caelan Doris, Gavin Coombes, and Ryan Baird particularly eye-catching.

There was also discussion of the dramatic penalty shoot-out in Top 14 access match, won by Biarritz, as well as the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final and some of the Irish players and coaches abroad.

You can sign up as a member of The42 here in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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