The powerful centre had just been named in the Pro14 Dream Team, and despite never being a particularly popular figure under Schmidt, looked destined for a call-up. However, his omission behind Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose, Chris Farrell and Rory Scannell has caused outrage.
Former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions flanker Stephen Ferris has joined the discussion on Twitter after McCloskey’s exclusion by sharing some stats by Enhance Performance. While Ferris did not specifically state whether he thinks his former teammate should have been selected, he pointed out that these are “interesting”.
These stats show that across the season, the 26-year-old McCloskey led those who beat him to selection in a whole host of stats.
In fact, it was only in clean breaks and defenders beaten that he was not the leader. Furthermore, he conceded the second fewest turnovers and third fewest penalties.
However, as McCloskey did not feature on the international scene much this season, he would have amassed more games for his club, meaning the stats may be skewed. However, his stats are not too dissimilar in terms of the average performance each game, where he leads the turnovers and offloads stats.
In light of these revealing figures, fans have once again shown their exasperation that the 3-cap international has been overlooked after a standout season.
This is what has been said:
What more can he do in a season?? Embarrassing decision to leave him out of the training squad
— Phil Moreland (@pmoreland4590) June 3, 2019
I've never been convinced by Bundee Aki at 12, in saying that McCloskey has been in unplayable form this year. Deserves to be in the squad at least for the training camps if not the full squad. Pick on form not familiarity.
— Colm Dougherty (@colmjdougherty) June 3, 2019
Stuart mccloskey every time. Best no:12. As ive said if your not in 'schmits fav boy squad' you got no chance. What has the guy to do to get there? Its a disgrace.
— Stephanie (@billtedsam) June 3, 2019
Aki is incredibly over rated. Watch his 6 nations performance this year…horrendous. For those saying ringrose and co against better opposition…they all play PRO14 rugby. Ulster made it to the semis in Europe. Don’t get the “higher quality” point. Mccloskey in incredible form
— macrorebekahED (@MacRo_rebekahED) June 3, 2019
He’s playing better than he did a few years ago when he was in the squad!! A big oversight by Joe!
— Dan McCusker (@danmccusker1) June 3, 2019
Speaks for itself….
— Jimbo (@JimboMcgibbon) June 3, 2019
A great example of bias in decision making. McCloskey should be part of the squad! https://t.co/BMXOVkYFbH
— markjo (@markjo) June 3, 2019
— Arshad Rifa (@AR_rifa) June 3, 2019
In every World Cup, there are always selections that do not please all the fans. However, there are rarely stats provided that are so flattering to a player that has been overlooked, particularly compared to some of his rivals.
However, as it has been since he made his Ireland debut in 2016, McCloskey’s face does not seem to fit in the Irish set up. Some do say that it is his positional inflexibility, as he can only really play at 12, but many others simply cannot see why.
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