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Seven eight split in Alan Quinlan's Combined Wales/Ireland XV

By Josh Raisey
PA

Former Ireland and Munster flanker Alan Quinlan has picked a combined Wales and Ireland team ahead of their Guinness Six Nations clash on Sunday.

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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.

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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).

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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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finn 5 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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