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We Pick The Ireland Team We Want To See For The Rest Of The Six Nations

We Pick The Ireland Team We Want To See For The Rest Of The Six Nations
By Conor O'Leary

It almost seems like Joe Schmidt was paying attention to the fans cries for the in-form young players to be blooded during the Six Nations.

His comments at the open training session suggest that there will be new caps handed out to the likes of Stuart McCloskey and Ultan Dillane - and maybe he can experiment by playing Henshaw and Payne in their provincial positions.

Schmidt singled out McCloskey in his praise, and he does seem like at least one unforced change that could happen for England:

It is going to give us an opportunity to maybe look at a few guys like the big fella [McCloskey] there and a few others.

He is actually bigger than all our loose forwards as well. He has been working on a few things even post-training with us and we are seeing some good reward from that.

If ever there was way to get yourself into Schmidt's good books it's performing in extra training sessions for Schmidt. I think you can put it down that McCloskey will get a run out, and judging by the fixture list and Schmidt's history - McCloskey has a good chance to play all three games.

Going off the premise that Schmidt will make some chances, we've constructed our Ireland selections for each of the three remaining Ireland games. There's a mixture of new players, old players returning, and players playing in different positions - see Henshaw and Payne.

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See Also: Joe Schmidt Has Answered The Prayers Of Irish Rugby Fans

Italy is being used to experiment the most with Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Jared Payne, and Jack McGrath all rested. We've also given Sexton a two game break, which gives the benefit of rewarding Jackson for his great form and developing a back up to Sexton. Cian Healy and Mike Ross will not feature at all, so they can recover their match fitness for the end of the season with Leinster without rushing back to play for Ireland. It gives the props that Schmidt has been using more time to gain more experience too.

v England v Italy v Scotland
  15  Jared Payne  15  Simon Zebo  15  Jared Payne
14  Andrew Trimble  14  Andrew Trimble  14  Andrew Trimble
13  Robbie Henshaw  13  Robbie Henshaw  13  Robbie Henshaw
12  Stuart McCloskey  12  Stuart McCloskey  12  Stuart McCloskey
11  Keith Earls  11  Keith Earls  11  Keith Earls
10  Paddy Jackson  10  Paddy Jackson  10  Johnny Sexton
9  Conor Murray  9  Kieran Marmion  9  Conor Murray
1  Jack McGrath  1  James Cronin  1  Jack McGrath
2  Rory Best  2  Rory Best  2  Rory Best
3  Nathan White  3  Nathan White  3  Tadhg Furlong
4  Donnacha Ryan  4  Donnacha Ryan  4  Donnacha Ryan
5  Devin Toner  5  Devin Toner  5  Devin Toner
6  Rhys Ruddock  6  Rhys Ruddock  6  CJ Stander
7  Tommy O'Donnell  7  Tommy O'Donnell  7  Tommy O'Donnell
8  Jamie Heaslip  8  CJ Stander  8  Jamie Heaslip
16  Sean Cronin  16  Sean Cronin  16  Richardt Strauss
17  James Cronin  17  Jack McGrath  17  James Cronin
18  Tadhg Furlong  18  Tadhg Furlong  18  Nathan White
19  Ultan Dillane  19  Ultan Dillane  19  Ultan Dillane
20  CJ Stander  20  Josh van der Flier 20  Rhys Ruddock
21  Kieran Marmion  21  Conor Murray  21  Kieran Marmion
22  Ian Madigan  22  Johnny Sexton  22  Paddy Jackson
23  Craig Gilroy  23  Garry Ringrose  23  Simon Zebo

There should be debuts for the likes of Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, and Garry Ringrose all from the bench.

Quick note on CJ Stander, that's more of a "horses for courses" selection - with grunters proving to be very effective against England in the last number of years. We do want to see him at no.8 against Italy, and between Ruddock, Heaslip, and Stander, there would be some rotation.

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See Also: Brian O'Driscoll Hits The Nail On The Head Regarding Ireland's Lack Of Line-Breaks

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

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