Ireland’s Leinster-heavy squad has received a lot of attention online ahead of their trip to Rome this weekend in the Guinness Six Nations.
Andy Farrell has selected eleven players from the province in his starting XV, which includes an all-Leinster backline for the third time in Ireland’s history, and first time in almost a century.
Leinster are sitting at the top of the Guinness PRO14 currently, but are being pushed all the way by Ulster in Conference A, while Munster and Connacht both sit at the summit of Conference B. Leo Cullen’s side are not dominating Irish, and indeed European, rugby in the same way they have over the past five years, which is perhaps why this selection has caused so much bemusement as not one Connacht player has managed to make the matchday 23.
One of the three starting Munster players is Dave Kilcoyne, who usually starts on the bench behind Cian Healy, who is a substitute for only the third time in his last 20 Tests.
There will always be contentious calls, but Farrell is clearly seeking some continuity in his backline, and there is no better way to do that than teaming up players who are familiar with one another. Moreover, picking players from the form team in the country is seldom a cause for concern, but Ireland fans clearly feel there should be greater representation.
Any Ireland selection these days is greeted by rants regarding John Cooney’s absence, and this one is no exception, particularly in light of the injuries at scrum-half. At this moment in time, those complaints do not appear to be bearing much fruit.
Ireland are searching for their first win of the Championship after losses to Wales and France in the opening two rounds. Farrell has not been too experimental with his selection as a win looks to be his only priority.
There's been an all Leinster backline in a test twice before but NOT for a very long time. Against South Africa on 30 November 1912 and against Wales on 14 March 1931.
— Stuart Farmer (@Stu_Farmer) February 25, 2021
— Ben Walsh (@walshben11) February 25, 2021
Ireland could have every single professional 9 injured and Farrell would probably still pick the waterboy for Blackrock over Cooney. https://t.co/Z9LzBTznyr
— Stu (@DisgruntledTurk) February 25, 2021
Best of luck to Leinster this weekend against Italy. Another strange lineup. With regards the World Cup, surely a 9-10 of Cooney and Harry Byrne is worth a try at some stage. Cooney flying this year and Burns/R Byrne don't look up to it. https://t.co/woH1uem6de
— Kevin Moran (@kevcmoran) February 25, 2021
11 Leinster players starting on the Irish rugby team this weekend vs Italy. They might as well play in blue!
— Sean C Duke (@ScienceSpinning) February 25, 2021
You’d swear Leinster were european champions, 30 points ahead in the pro14 and had just win the world cup. 11/15 when the provinces have never been so evenly matched
— Oplgndbs (@finn_sisk1) February 25, 2021
From the 3 proud provinces of Ireland
— Philip O Reilly (@oreillyphilip) February 25, 2021
Leinster v Italy coming this weekend ?. Despite all advances in last twenty years in terms of being able to see every game from multiple angles, still seems like chances of international involvement much reduced if you don’t reside in the capital. https://t.co/0qELQZbW2h
— Ollie Crowe (@olliecrowe_ie) February 25, 2021
@leinsterrugby wear green now? Mad how Lowe and Gibson Park get rewarded for being at fault for conceding tries the last day out. Again, this coaching ticket proving beyond doubt that they're simply not up to it! #IrishRugby #sixnationsrugby https://t.co/2CwWSBqqmG
— Conor Counihan (@ConorCounihan) February 25, 2021
Looks like its Leinster against Italy this weekend. Such a lack of creativity in these selections. Screams of panic.
— simondo (@sidavidkelly) February 25, 2021
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