Thursday 23 March 2017

Quinlan ideal man for French trenches

OF course, it was never going to happen. Having not been included in any Ireland squad this season, least of all the 11 players called up last Sunday to supplement the 22 that beat Italy, Alan Quinlan was not going to be a shock call-up this week. But how perfect would he have been for Saturday's showdown with France?

Kevin McLaughlin is a player with a big future and did well on his debut last weekend. However, facing the vowel-laden, omnipresent French back-row of Thierry Dusautoir, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Imanol Harinordoquy in Paris on his second international appearance not long after he was gracing the All-Ireland League is a big ask for the Leinster flanker.

Quinlan would be ideal if Ferris was ruled out for this one. In fine form for Munster, the Tipperary man has the line-out skills, physical presence and the crucial capacity to get under the skin of Harinordoquy & Co -- just as he did with Toulouse's Fabien Pelous in the Heineken Cup final a couple of years ago.

Not to be. HF

Irish Independent

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