Connacht travel to Italy to take on Zebre in a Pro 14 clash today, with the play-off hunt still very much on. It has been an excellent season for The Westerners, who have shown a lot of improvement after a disappointing campaign last time around.
While Jack Carty has rightly taken much of the plaudits this season, Tiernan O'Halloran has also been in fantastic form. The fullback has produced some incredibly exciting attacking displays, and he could be quickly playing himself into the thoughts of Joe Schmidt ahead of the World Cup in Japan.
Considering the problems Ireland have had at fullback, O'Halloran has to considered. His international prospects were discussed by Eddie O'Sullivan and Luke Fitzgerald on Eir Sport before today's game, and they were of the opinion that he had to be considered for selection.
"O'Halloran is playing the rugby of his life"
Our panel say Tiernan O'Halloran is now the form full-back in the country and can't understand why he hasn't been given an opportunity. #GuinnessPRO14 pic.twitter.com/uZ6ATZW6Wp
— eir Sport (@eirSport) April 6, 2019
Fitzgerald: He's excellent under the high ball, he's very solid there, he's got an excellent kicking game as well, but where he really thrives is that attacking game. When he gets a bit of pace up he's really hard to stop.
Himself and Matt Healy are a real threat together. It was my last game of rugby against those guys and I do not have good memories!
O'Sullivan: O'Halloran has been capped, he was capped in South Africa. He hasn't played badly, but he seems to have fallen way down the pecking order. Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour has been there, Robbie Henshaw was even tried during the Six Nations.
O'Halloran is playing the rugby of his life. He's a bit Zebo-esque in his methods. He's not afraid to run from deep, he has great feet, is strong in the tackle. He's the form fullback.
A run in the play-offs would certainly do his chances no harm, and Connacht look well on their way to getting there on current form. Luke Fitzgerald felt that some good form at the end of the season could make him difficult to ignore.
You're in the shop window there, that's the key thing. Last year they fell away a bit and these guys didn't get exposed to top class rugby. I'm really surprised he hasn't been given an opportunity, considering the injury woes Ireland have had at fullback.
It's the handling ability. We saw some lovely offloads there, pre contact as well, he can release his wingers and get them away. That is something Ireland haven't had for a while. I think he is a guy who can really be a catalyst, get the ball in Stockdale's hands, get the ball in Earls' hands. He is a guy they really need to be considering.