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Tomás O'Leary Says IRFU Will Have To Change Its Attitude On Team Selection

Tomás O'Leary Says IRFU Will Have To Change Its Attitude On Team Selection
By Conor Neville
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With Keith Earls seemingly intent on transferring to Saracens, Tomás O'Leary says that the IRFU may have to look more kindly on foreign based players.

Shortly before Christmas, IRFU performance director David Nucifora spelled out the union's policy when he said that foreign based players would be at a disadvantage when it came to national team selection.

Irish 'exiles' have long suffered from an informal policy in which home-based players are favoured in national team selection.

During the mid-noughties, Munster second strings Mick O'Driscoll and Trevor Hogan were both placed ahead of Bob Casey in the pecking order despite the fact that the latter was routinely voted the London Irish player of the year.

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Though he finished with plenty of caps, Geordan Murphy's frustrating Ireland career and his failure to dislodge Girvan Dempsey as Ireland's preferred option at full back was occasionally attributed to his determination to remain in Leicester.

Indeed, in the earliest days of the Heineken Cup, players like Paul Wallace and Conor O'Shea returned from their English clubs to play for Leinster in Europe (it was possible in those early days) because they believed that their prospects of selection for the national team would suffer otherwise.

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In light of the current exodus, O'Leary insists that Ireland can't afford to be too stubborn about picking home based players.

I wouldn't be privy to Joe Schmidt's thinking, or what the IRFU are thinking with regards to their policy for the selection of overseas players, but I think you'll find, especially if one or two lads go, they will end up having to select their best players.

We don't have a big enough playing population to be picky, especially if some of your best players end up starting to go abroad.

On Monday, Marty Moore's move to Wasps was confirmed.

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said he doesn't see Moore's chances of national team advancement being inhibited. He says he wants to see Moore playing international rugby.

However, Young is not an employee of the IRFU.

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[Irish Independent]

Read more: Wasps Director Of Rugby Offers Reassurances Over Marty Moore's International Future

Read more: Watch Live: Six Nations Launch Sees Schmidt And Best Give Their Take On Ireland's Chances

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