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Tony Ward Wants To See Some Controversial Changes To The Ireland Starting XV

Tony Ward Wants To See Some Controversial Changes To The Ireland Starting XV
Daryl Bolger
By Daryl Bolger
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With Ireland falling to Wales last weekend, there could have been widespread calls for team changes from all and sundry. Ireland's ten game winning run prior to that match has ensured that those calls have been fairly limited to date.

Step-forward Tony Ward. Writing for the Independent, the former fly half makes the case for some significant changes. He starts by suggesting the entire front-row could be changed. With Best's line-outs a bit wayward and Cian Healy starting from the bench, that is not too controversial a suggestion. He also argues that Henderson should take Toner's place, again not overly unreasonable.


What is controversial however is his assertion that Sexton should give way to Madigan with Keatley taking a spot on the bench. The FAI cup winner cites a Sexton 'twinge' as reason for this, suggesting Sexton's niggles are reason enough for him to cede his place.

If Johnny Sexton is carrying any sort of 'twinge' then the case for rest in Edinburgh is obvious. Ian Madigan, despite minimal game time in the out-half position this season, was outstanding in his lone start against Georgia for Ireland back in November.

We'll leave it to the medics to decide but Madigan at ten with Ian Keatley in reserve would represent practical thinking for me.

Many an Irish player has played with a 'twinge', and much worse, in vital games. It seems a poor reason to drop Sexton, who, despite a comparatively poor game in Cardiff, is still one of the finest for his position in the world.


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