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In order to do well at the World Cup, we need two proven quality players in every position.


Mick Galwey

Andy Farrell missed a chance to build our rugby fortune with his chosen XV to play Argentina at Aviva.

When I told him about ” We have to respect Argentina, ”hearing people talk, I knew we would play very close to our strongest team to make sure we win the game.

Of course, every Irish rugby fan has respect for Argentina – they care about us For God’s sake excluded from the World Cup three times.

But if you had a choice this afternoon of whether to win, or find out five younger players have reached the Testing level, or more importantly, they haven’t, then I would Took the latter route.

To do well at the World Cup and remember that it will now take less than two years, we need two proven quality players in each position.

We have a group with the world champions South Africa and Scotland, before we go to our “glass ceiling” of the quarter-finals, where we will definitely play against New Zealand or France.

There is a possibility that we will have to forego two or three of the favored first XV in the quarter-finals due to injury. When, if not today, will we find out which of the rest of the group is good enough for this level?

What’s the point of playing the entire Leinster pack against Argentina with Iain Henderson from Ulster? We know this pack is good, they proved it against the All Blacks last weekend.

They’ll prove it again in a few weeks when they play for Leinster at the Heineken Cup. Why didn’t Farrell give other guys, like property master Finlay Bealham and Gavin Coombes from the back row, a chance?


Bealham was a sideline in beating the All Blacks and did very well when he came on as a substitute. Nevertheless, it is now discarded for Tom O’Toole. That makes no sense. Cian Healy is also a sub. What on earth does Cian have to prove to everyone in this match?

Speaking of a pure Leinster pack, the only one left out is Ryan Baird in the second row. I can’t believe that.

I was right about Ronan Kelleher last week and I’ll be right about Baird, he’ll be a big player for Ireland in the future.

This is just the thing for him to gain international experience, but he doesn’t even change!

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And why is Hugo Keenan full-back? Hugo’s form has been such lately that he is now part of the “Holy Trinity” of Irish rugby with Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong. They play when it matters and nobody thinks about it. So if Hugo plays well. This is Hugo. In the unlikely event he plays badly, he will be forgiven and he will face Wales in the first Six Nations game next February. What’s the point?

Why was neither Jordan Larmour nor Simon Zebo given a starting shot? Jordan was the golden boy of Irish rugby two years ago, Simon was that figure again about three years ago.

It can be hard to get down from these heights to be a squad man. Any man should have tried to prove he still had a lot to offer.

Let me warn Andy about one thing. After the Argentina game, his next 10 games with Ireland are the five games at the Six Nations 2022 and five games in New Zealand.

It is said that in addition to the three tests already planned against the Kiwis, we will play against the Maoris next July and play one of their super rugby teams.

I’ve toured New Zealand with both Ireland and the Lions. Those midweek games down there are mini-tests for yourself, you have loads of young money on the opposition trying to make a name for themselves by killing the tourists.

It’s going to be brutal games, and don’t wait also the national team after last weekend only on us?

Andy’s only chance to see the players could be at home in the Six Nations against Italy, where he can rest four or five and still get the win.

But only one game of this kind carries the risk that the boys play for themselves – not for the team.

I really would have given four or five boys a start in this game. The one who gets his chance is Ulster winger Robert Baloucoune. When he played for his province he was a really hot candidate, and now he’s coming into the green.


I hope Robert gets decent service and can stalk his things because he has the talent to be successful.

It’s hard to know where Argentina is. They’re usually the opposite of Ireland, they do well in the World Cup year and have a few bad results in the years in between.

I expect Ireland to win this game easily after a decent fight between the forwards in the first 20 minutes.

But what is that supposed to prove? Certainly nothing of value than finding out how the team could have gone with Coombes, Baird, Bealham and Craig Casey, who all got their chance at Baloucoune.

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