Seven eight split in Alan Quinlan's Combined Wales/Ireland XV
Joining Off The Ball AM, Quinlan selected a team consisting of eight Irishmen and seven Welshmen.
For a wily player that seemed to improve with age, it is no surprise that he has opted for a sagacious XV loaded with caps and experience.
The average age of the squad is 30, while the average number of caps is 71.
Ireland lock James Ryan, 24, is the only player in the squad that is under the age of 25, and it would have been an aberration if Quinlan overlooked him. But Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Tomos Williams and Andrew Porter are the only other players that are not over the age of 30.
The contest at the Principality Stadium could be one of the defining fixtures of this year’s Six Nations. Andy Farrell’s Ireland got the better of Wayne Pivac’s Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup, beating them 32-9 at the Aviva Stadium.
With both sides showing plenty of areas that are in need of improvement over the autumn, Quinlan’s XV perhaps indicates the strength of their experienced Test players which are yet to be usurped by the next generation.
QUINLAN’S COMBINED WALES IRELAND XV
15. Leigh Halfpenny, 32 (Wales) 97 caps
14. Keith Earls, 33 (Ireland) 88 caps
13. Jonathan Davies, 32 (Wales) 91 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw, 27 (Ireland) 47 caps
11. James Lowe, 28 (Ireland) 2 caps
10. Johnny Sexton, 35 (Ireland) 101 caps
9. Tomos Williams, 26 (Wales) 20 caps
1. Cian Healy, 33 (Ireland) 104 caps
2. Ken Owens, 34 (Wales) 79 caps
3. Andrew Porter, 25 (Ireland) 32 caps
4. Alun Wyn Jones, 35 (Wales) 152 caps
5. James Ryan, 24 (Ireland) 32 caps
6. CJ Stander, 30 (Ireland) 47 caps
7. Justin Tipuric, 31 (Wales) 81 caps
8. Taulupe Faletau, 30 (Wales) 85 caps
ACTUAL SELECTED TEAMS:
Wales: L Halfpenny (Scarlets); L Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), G North (Ospreys), J Williams (Scarlets), H Amos (Cardiff Blues); D Biggar (Northampton), T Williams (Cardiff Blues); W Jones (Scarlets), K Owens (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), A Beard (Ospreys), A W Jones (Ospreys, capt), D Lydiate (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Bath).
Replacements: E Dee (Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys), L Brown (Dragons), W Rowlands (Wasps), J Navidi (Cardiff Blues), G Davies (Scarlets), C Sheedy (Bristol), N Tompkins (Dragons).
Ireland: H Keenan (Leinster); K Earls (Munster), G Ringrose (Leinster), R Henshaw (Leinster), J Lowe (Leinster); J Sexton (Leinster, capt), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Herring (Ulster), A Porter (Leinster), T Beirne (Munster), J Ryan (Leinster), P O’Mahony (Munster), J van der Flier (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster).
Replacements: R Kelleher (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), T Furlong (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), W Connors (Leinster), J Gibson-Park (Leinster), B Burns (Ulster), J Larmour (Leinster).
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England).
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