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O'Driscoll Expects John Cooney To Start On Subs Bench Versus Scotland

O'Driscoll Expects John Cooney To Start On Subs Bench Versus Scotland
By Balls Team

A new era for the Ireland rugby team begins on Saturday when Scotland arrive at the Aviva for the first match of the Six Nations. Andy Farrell will reveal his starting XV tomorrow afternoon for the Scotland game. There has been much speculation over whether Farrell will play the country's in-form players or pick the stalwarts of the Joe Schmidt era in his first game at the helm. John Cooney has become the fulcrum of much of this intrigue. Cooney is in the form of his life and arguably the best player in the country at the moment. He is trying to wrestle the #9 shirt from Conor Murray, whose form has been middling for at least the last decade.

During a recent media event for Guinness, Brian O'Driscoll joined the chorus of ex-Ireland players who said they expect Cooney will start on the bench Saturday.

O'Driscoll is quoted in many media outlets today saying the following:

“I think he’ll find himself in the substitutes to begin with and get some game time over the course of the next seven weeks. I think you’ve got to be careful about how many people you blood at one time in the key positions and halfback is vital."

On Murray, O'Driscoll said the following:

“He hasn’t been the Conor he’s been in the last seven or eight years this last year, 18 months. A lot of the time his 70-80 per cent is most people’s 100 per cent and there’s a confidence and a calmness you get and an understanding that he knows how to work a team around the park.

“He knows how to take pressure off at outhalf. His box kicking is still unrivalled, that ability to relieve pressure. Defensively I think he’s the smartest at being able to understand where to plug the relevant holes. He’s got a wicked pass.

“It’s just his box kicking at times has been a little bit off, his passing hasn’t been as crisp. He hasn’t identified the breaks that he would have once done but it seems to be coming back.”

Of course, Cooney is not exactly being 'blooded'. He's 29, has been capped 6 times for Ireland and appeared in four of Ireland's five Six Nations games last year. We're 24 hours away from learning which way Farrell will steer Ireland.

O'Driscoll was speaking to launch a number of exciting events throughout the duration of the Guiness Six Nations that spotlight some of the best cultural experiences on offer across each of the six nations. Guinness will bring this to life by taking the Championship out of the stadia and into the host cities, bringing people from rival nations together to share some of the best cultural experiences from across the six nations. Guinness will present four culturally themed experiences hosted by well-known rival rugby legends and famous Irish and French chefs.



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