Former Ireland Boss Picks An Interesting Ireland Back-Row For Scotland Game

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Former Ireland boss Eddie O’Sullivan has an idea for Ireland’s back-row against Scotland that definitely could work.

Joe Schmidt has an embarrassment of riches in the back-row and has 5-6 players to pick from this weekend who are all in magnificent form, with just three spots available.

Peter O’Mahony is a man possessed right for Munster now, but it seems he may miss out due to CJ Stander’s ridiculous form. A big question mark however, still hangs over the fitness of Sean O’Brien.

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The Leinster man hasn’t played in his province’s last two games with a calf problem and only returns to training today- leaving him short of match fitness. Could Schmidt use this as an opportunity to get O’Mahony and his lineout skills into his back-row?

The Munster captain has been their go-to man at set-piece time this season, with his lineout jumping skills second to none. Scotland’s lineout is one of their strong points, so having O’Mahony in there would be a huge bonus alongside the likes of Toner and Ryan.

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The issue is putting O’Mahony in at openside, when you’ve got a readymade seven in the form of Van der Flier ready to go should O’Brien not be available to start.

You could argue – and I might have a target on my back for saying this – Peter O’Mahony might be a guy they need to start against Scotland for lineout presence.” O’Sullivan said on Off The Ball.

You can go to Stander, you can go to Jamie Heaslip in a pinch but they’re not classic lineout jumpers.If you only have two major jumpers in Toner and Donnacha Ryan, it puts extra pressure on the lineout, extra pressure on Rory Best.

Whereas O’Mahony, defensively and offensively, is a really good lineout jumper. You might say, we need another presence in the lineout at that level.

I think what he [Joe Schmidt] might do and I’m just surmising here – I think O’Brien will be there but if he was trading for another lineout presence, he might leave O’Brien on the bench and bring him on as an impact player because Stander is playing out of his skin at the moment and Heaslip is a standard bearer at number eight.

What do you think? A good idea?

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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