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Stephen Ferris Laments Ireland's 'Bullshit' Selection Policy

Stephen Ferris Laments Ireland's 'Bullshit' Selection Policy

Ireland's team selection for the Six Nations game against Italy was a predictable one, but that didn't mean it wasn't met with massive disappointment from many corners.

After two lacklustre performances in the tournament thus far it was hoped Andy Farrell would introduce some fresh blood into the side. That hasn't proved to be the case, with the Ireland head coach going with a largely similar team to the one we have seen in the first couple of rounds.

Italy would normally be the game in the championship that fringe players are given the chance to impress, but it looks as though Farrell is feeling the pressure by selecting when he believes to be a first choice side.

However, not all agree that the players selected on this occasion are Ireland's best at the minute.

A number of in-form players at provincial level (such as Gavin Coombes and John Cooney) continue to be overlooked, and with the exception of substitute Craig Casey, there seems to be little effort to blood some of the talented youngsters that are currently coming through.

Speaking on The Buildup podcast this week, Stephen Ferris admitted that he is certainly not a fan of Ireland's selection policy when it comes to bringing in new players.

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Why do you have to earn your stripes for three years before you get an international call-up? That is, excuse my French, bullshit!

People talk about 'lots of lads have been given an opportunity, Andy Farrell has capped a lot of guys' and everything else.

Eddie O'Sullivan gave me my first cap at 21-years of age, Luke Fitzgerald was 18 or 19, Jamie Heaslip 20 or 21.

There are lads there that, who in my opinion, deserve to be in the mix for international selection.

John Cooney was exceptional again, I was covering the game on Friday night and he was brilliant. He got off to a rocky start and I think that's something I like about him. Not everything goes his way, in the first five or ten minutes he knocked a couple of balls on off the base of a ruck.

Then all of a sudden he comes to life. He's always on that trail line anyway for the ball back inside. There was a bit of a 'no look' pass to Michael Lowry who scored under the posts and he was the heartbeat of everything in that second half.

There are players there for me who can certainly come in and do a job, but are we going to see them? At the minute the answer is no.

It's the same squad that was selected for the last game that will be wheeled out this weekend.

Cooney is certainly the prime example here.

He has continually starred for Ulster over the last couple of years but has yet to be given a proper opportunity at test level.

Considering Ireland's results over the last 18 months, they certainly cannot afford to leave in-form players sitting at home.

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Gary Connaughton

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