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Bernard Jackman 'Perplexed' By Contradictions In Andy Farrell's Six Nations Squad

Bernard Jackman 'Perplexed' By Contradictions In Andy Farrell's Six Nations Squad
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Andy Farrell named his Ireland squad for the first two rounds of the 2023 Six Nations yesterday, with much of the discussion over the last 24 hours or so surrounding the absence of one player in particular.

Joey Carbery has long acted as the backup option at '10' when he has been fit and available to play, although there was no place for him in the squad on this occasion. Instead, Ross Byrne and Jack Crowley will act as deputies for Johnny Sexton.

It is a big call from Farrell, especially when you consider how much time has been put into developing the Munster man in recent years. As well as that, he has actually been in decent form at provincial level over the last number of weeks.

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In saying that, Carbery has often failed to impress when given the opportunity at test level in the last couple of seasons.

Bernard Jackman points out 'contradictions' in Ireland squad

Joey Carbery's absence from the Six Nations would suggest that Andy Farrell is basing his playing pool on current form, although some other inclusions would suggest that this isn't necessarily the case. The likes of Bundee Aki and Conor Murray were part of the panel despite being dropped at provincial level over the last month or so.

Speaking on RTÉ's Game On, Bernard Jackman admitted that he was surprised by Carbery's absence and pointed out some contradictions within the squad.

It's a big shock for me because, let's be honest, Joey has been picked by Farrell pretty much regardless of being in top form consistently and I don't think his form has been that bad to be honest but it's a real statement by Farrell that Crowley has got in ahead of him...

I don't know why (Farrell) didn't just pick four 10s for this squad and leave Joey in. The only reason you would leave him out is if you feel he needs a bit of a kick up the bum and see what he's like under pressure...

This squad is a little bit perplexing in that you can't say you're leaving Joey Carbery out on form and then you pick Keith Earls, Conor Murray (and) Bundee Aki. That's the issue.

Obviously those lads have a lot of credit in the bank but we've always been led to believe that Joey has a lot of credit in the bank because he's always done quite well for Ireland when he's had the opportunity...

This squad certainly there's question marks around form and in a key position like out half. We've invested 7-8 years in Joey to be the next best to Johnny.

I just think the fact that Johnny hasn't played for the last 3-4 weeks - and I know he's fine - I don't see the benefit of leaving Joey out of this large group now unless you want a reaction from him.

Joey Carbery could yet be part of the Six Nations squad at some point in the tournament, although he seems well down the pecking order at the moment.

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As Jackman suggests above, perhaps being left out on this occasion can give him the motivation he need to get back to his best ahead of the World Cup later this year.

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