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Ferris Picks Three Men Who Could Force Their Way Into Ireland's 1st Choice 23

Ferris Picks Three Men Who Could Force Their Way Into Ireland's 1st Choice 23
By Colman Stanley Updated
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Stephen Ferris sat down with us for another of his regular rugby chats - in association with Ladbrokes - ahead of Saturday's Autumn Nations Series clash between Ireland and South Africa.

With next year's Rugby World Cup in mind, the former Ulster and Ireland backrower picked out three players who could force their way into Andy Farrell's first choice 23, ahead of the 2023 tournament in France.

Stuart McCloskey

"Someone like Stuart McCloskey, whose been playing brilliantly for Ulster every single week. There’s only three centres picked in this Irish squad, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose and Stuart McCloskey. I’d love to see him get a start against Australia, I really would, I think he deserves it.

"With Ireland’s first-choice pack, Ireland’s first-choice half-back, Ireland’s first choice back-three and then McCloskey, lets see how he goes in there.

If there’s somebody who a year ago we weren’t really talking about being involved in a Rugby World Cup for Ireland, it’s probably him. Because there’s so many other quality players ahead of him.

"And now with Bundee out, if he puts in a couple of performances over the next few weeks and gets that opportunity, he’d be a bolter for the 2023 Rugby World Cup."

Craig Casey

"It’s a big game this weekend for the A's, Ireland A are playing. It’s being captained by Craig Casey the Munster scrumhalf.

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"Everybody would have thought he would be on the bench this week against South Africa. It’s obviously not going to happen, but him being given the captain’s armband [for the A game].

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"I listened to an interview from Craig and he was like Andy just pulled him and aside and started chatting, and all of a sudden he gave him the captaincy for the game.

I think that respect shown by Andy shows to me that he rates him, he rates him very highly.

"He might get a start in the Six Nations, and he’s definitely going to get a start in the Autumn."

Stephen Ferris Previews Ireland vs South Africa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBqrFiYIxqo

READ HERE: Ferris Calls Frawley Selection 'Bizarre' And Emerging Ireland Tour 'Pointless'

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Robert Baloucoune

"Somebody else is Rob Baloucoune, whose played brilliantly for Ulster over the last couple of seasons. He’s an out and out winger, huge pace, a bit like some of the South Africans, a bit like Mapimpi.

"Somebody who can get that outside break, is a very strong tackler. His kicking game may be not as good as James Lowe, he’s maybe not as busy around the fringes as James Lowe as well.

"But if you’re needing pace coming off the bench and a winning try from absolutely nowhere, I think he can do that. So Rob Baloucoune I think deserves an opportunity.  He’s really got pace to burn, he’s probably the fastest winger in Irish rugby."

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SEE ALSO: Baloucoune And Conor Murray Start In A Classy Ireland Side To Face South Africa

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