Rugby

Shane Horgan Suggests Joe Schmidt Needs To Make Major Selection Change For England

Shane Horgan Suggests Joe Schmidt Needs To Make Major Selection Change For England

Shane Horgan has suggested that Joe Schmidt has some major selection calls to make ahead of next weekend's final game of the Six Nations against England.

Eddie Jones' side come to Dublin looking to complete the Grand Slam following Saturday's destruction of Scotland at Twickenham.

Writing in his Sunday Times column, Horgan said that the Ireland head coach should consider dropping vice-captain Jamie Heaslip, The 33-year-old has been nearly ever-present during Schmidt's time in charge.

In the loss to Wales on Friday, Peter O'Mahony entered the action just after the hour mark as a replacement for CJ Stander. Horgan was surprised that it was Stander who was withdrawn rather than Heaslip.

If Heaslip was dropped and O'Mahony brought into the starting lineup, it would likely mean Stander moving the number eight, the position he plays for Munster. Ireland's lineout options, which have been lacking during this tournament, would also be bolstered by the addition of O'Mahony to the starting XV.

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I'm surprised Peter O'Mahony didn't come on a little bit earlier and that it was Stander taken off because he was the most effective of the back row. In contrast, Heaslip was having quite an ineffective game. The Welsh back row was outstanding.

Will O'Mahony start against England? It's a big call. Schmidt has the option of playing Stander at eight and for this game the coach has more licence to make a change. The competition in the back row is phenomenal and it's been tough on a player of O'Mahony's quality to be squeezed out.

I think Schmidt is going to have to change the team. There must be consequence for losing to both Scotland and Wales, especially when we had the players to win both of those games. Heaslip has had a very effective season this year but he might need to step out.

Horgan adds that though Donnacha Ryan had a 'decent' game against Wales, Iain Henderson, 'a better player all round', should come into the starting team.

The former Leinster player also suggests that Cian Healy may start in place of Jack McGrath.

Watch: Eddie O'Sullivan Highly Critical Of Ireland As An Attacking Force

PJ Browne
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