Rugby

Brian O'Driscoll Has Some Insight Into One Of Joe Schmidt's Major Selection Decisions

Brian O'Driscoll Has Some Insight Into One Of Joe Schmidt's Major Selection Decisions

It was against a terrible Oyonnax side, but still, Jared Payne was superb at fullback for Ulster in the Champions Cup last weekend.

The New Zealand-born player ripped the Top 14 side to shreds from what is undoubtedly, from an attacking persepctive, his best position. It is also where many believe he should play for Ireland.

That would of course mean Joe Schmidt dropping Rob Kearney. It would also mean Payne not playing at outside centre. During the World Cup, Payne's absence from the position was sorely felt from a defensive point of view.

Schmidt's midfield options post-World Cup have improved - mainly due to the form and obvious potential of Ulster's Stuart McCloskey. The Bangor Bulldozer is an exciting alternative for Joe Schmidt at inside centre. If he was to play there, it would likely mean Robbie Henshaw moving to 13.

Will we see this combo next weekend for Ireland's opening game of the Six Nations against Wales?

Not according to Brian O'Driscoll. He believes knows Payne will continue at 13.

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McCloskey is only 23, and hopefully will be a fixture in the Irish midfield for years to come, but according to O'Driscoll, his time has not come yet.

h/t Christopher James Henry

Read: The Member Of Joe Schmidt's Ireland Squad Who Had To Be Bribed To Play Rugby

Read: Everything You Need To Know About The Ireland U-20s In 2016

PJ Browne
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