Wednesday 18 October 2017

The winners and the losers

WINNERS

Hugh Farrelly

Dan Tuohy -- The second-row has come a long way in a short space of time and is rewarded for a consistent season with Ulster.

Chris Henry -- A commanding presence in the back-row during an up-and-down Ulster season. Greater experience gave him the edge over Munster's James Coughlan.

Shane Horgan -- It seemed as though the veteran winger was out of the Ireland picture but has held off the challenges of Denis Hurley and Fionn Carr.

LOSERS

Mike Ross -- The big omission. Ross came back to Ireland to push his international claims but, despite being the best scrummaging prop available, has been crippled by a lack of game time with Leinster.

Denis Hurley -- Has had an excellent season in the Munster back three, despite injury problems, but not starting against Horgan last weekend did not help his cause

Gavin Duffy -- Rob Kearney and Geordan Murphy were always going to be first and second-choice full-backs but Duffy's versatility and superb form for Connacht had him well in the mix

Fionn Carr (above) -- The most exciting attacker in Irish rugby loses out to the greater solidity and experience of Horgan and Andrew Trimble

QUESTIONS

Paul O'Connell -- Although his presence will be massively significant around the squad, is the risk of further injury too great for a man who has not played since March 20?

John Hayes -- Would it have been better to give the old warrior a summer off while assessing potential tight-head contingency plans?

NOT CONSIDERED

Leo Cullen

Sean O'Brien

Denis Leamy

Luke Fitzgerald

Donnacha Ryan

Stephen Ferris (right)

Irish Independent

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