Sport

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Addison happy to fill dual role for Ireland

The former England age group star is ready to stake a World Cup claim in the warm-up against Wales.

Will Addison, pictured in his Sale days, has a big chance to impress for Ireland on Saturday (Dave Thompson/PA)
Will Addison, pictured in his Sale days, has a big chance to impress for Ireland on Saturday (Dave Thompson/PA)

By Nick Purewal, PA

Will Addison believes Ireland boast enough creative talents to thrive in a twin play-making system at the World Cup.

Connacht’s Jack Carty will jump ahead of Ross Byrne in the World Cup selection stakes with a positive showing at fly-half in Saturday’s warm-up clash against Wales in Cardiff.

Byrne struggled in Ireland’s record 57-15 loss to England at Twickenham last weekend and has not made the bench for the Principality Stadium trip.

Addison will start at full-back but also cover fly-half, with centre Garry Ringrose also an option to step in at 10 off the bench.

“There’s a couple of guys who like to play-make in our backline and I think it’s something we’ve done really well over the last 12 months. Guys have stepped in at 12, 10, wherever across the backline,” said Addison.

“Jordan Larmour has done brilliantly there as a second receiver and there are other guys too.

“I’ve stepped in at 10 in the past at Sale and I’ve done it with Ulster the odd bit of time and, yeah, if it happens, you’ve got to be ready for it, as I’m sure Garry Ringrose will be ready for it too.”

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Garry Ringrose, pictured, might feature at fly-half for Ireland against Wales (Adam Davy/PA)

Utility back Addison has featured in cameos at fly-half with Ulster, though Leinster star Ringrose has not played 10 since school.

Head coach Joe Schmidt is clearly boosting Ireland’s emergency options by challenging Addison and Ringrose to cover fly-half this weekend, but any World Cup injuries and one or both just might find themselves piloting the backline in Japan.

Premier playmaker Johnny Sexton is yet to feature in Ireland’s World Cup warm-up schedule, having suffered a thumb problem and then a minor leg concern.

Ireland still expect their British and Irish Lions talisman to be at full tilt for the World Cup kick-off, against Scotland on September 22.

Joey Carbery remains in a race against time to be fit from ankle trouble for that opening Pool A encounter. The Munster star’s injury concern means Ireland are likely to take a third recognised 10, leaving the door open for Carty or Byrne.

An Ireland backline driven by either Addison or Ringrose at fly-half might receive an injection of pace and a desire for direct running though, which Schmidt will doubtless hope can hand his attack an entirely different dimension.

England Under-20s graduate Addison boasts just three Ireland caps but Schmidt prizes his versatility and attacking acumen extremely highly.

The 27-year-old now has one shot against Wales to impress and force his way into Ireland’s 31-man World Cup squad.

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Will Addison, pictured, qualifies for Ireland through his grandmother (David Davies/PA)

Schmidt described Addison as a “Jack of all trades and master of several” on Thursday, and the man himself is happy to keep being valued for that versatility.

“I think throughout my career I’ve always played a couple of positions,” said Addison.

“At the start of my career I would have preferred 13 but played a good bit on the wing.

“You take the positives from that: because it helps you learn what your 13 is after, and learn what your 10 is after.

“I don’t really see it as something that I desperately want to specialise because I just want to be involved.

“At the moment for me it’s not about specialising, it’s about enjoying any opportunity I get in whatever position it is and using that experience as a positive wherever it impacts on another position further down the line. I just enjoy whatever is thrown at me.”

PA Media

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