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Stephen Jones Has Picked Seven Ireland Players In His Current World XV

Stephen Jones Has Picked Seven Ireland Players In His Current World XV

Ireland are in excellent form at the moment. They are playing with freedom in attack, not relying on the slow and deliberates method to break teams down that they often did in the past.

That is not to say they have abandoned their physical approach to the game altogether. New Zealand struggled to match Ireland in that area last week, but there is certainly a more balanced approach than we have become accustomed to seeing in recent years.

It also helps that a number of Andy Farrell's players are in very strong form. In fact, some of them are arguably the best in the world in their position according to some commentators.

Stephen Jones is someone who has often rubbed Irish rugby fans up the wrong way in the past, hardly being the most complimentary about the team in years gone by.

That is why it was such a surprise to see him hold many of the current squad in such high regard.

Jones was amongst a number of pundits to pick their current World XV in today's Sunday Times, selecting no less than seven Ireland players in the side.

That includes a full Irish front row, with Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, and Tadhg Furlong in the side. Caelan Doris and Iain Henderson are also included in the pack, while Jamison Gibson-Park and Johnny Sexton make up the halfback pairing.

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This is quite the vote in confidence for a number of these players, many of whom are relatively inexperienced at international level.

Porter has only recently made the full-time move to loosehead prop, while Kelleher and Doris are still only 23-years old. As for Gibson-Park, he is only now establishing himself as first choice scrum-half for Ireland. Johnny Sexton making this team as a 36-year old is also nothing to be sniffed at, while Henderson is more than deserving of his spot.

The fact that Stephen Jones is the man to pick them makes it all the more remarkable.

Hopefully all of that group can go from strength to strength over the next couple of years.

SEE ALSO: All Blacks Hooker Dane Cole Explains Why They Couldn't Keep Pace With Ireland

Gary Connaughton

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