Saturday 1 October 2016

Stringer's enduring quality deserves more

Donny Mahoney

Published 08/04/2015 | 02:30

Peter Stringer has hit a vein of form with Bath these last few seasons
Peter Stringer has hit a vein of form with Bath these last few seasons

What a thrill it was to see Peter Stringer playing rugby on Irish soil again. After all these years, the sight of the diminutive Corkman flying into the ruck and flinging lasers to his out-half remains one of the great sights of modern rugby.

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The Aviva crowd on Saturday welcomed him to the pitch with deferential applause but the feeling remains that perhaps the Irish sporting public never fully appreciated Stringer's unique talents. Of the Ireland XV that lost to the Wallabies in the 2003 World Cup quarter-final, only he and Paul O'Connell still ply their trade.

A Robin to O'Gara's Batman for so many years, Stringer has hit a vein of form with Bath these last few seasons. He's looking for a new club for next season, but in his cameo on Saturday he again proved that even aged 37 he can motor an attack like no one else.

You can make the argument that Stringer is at least Ireland's third-best scrum-half at the moment, and offers an impact off the bench unlike any of our No 9s. The sentimentalist in me wonders why Joe Schmidt wouldn't bring him along to England in the autumn.

At the very least, the IRFU could devise some honorary solution to get him the two Ireland caps that would get him to the century mark. It would be a way of saying thanks.

Irish Independent

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