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Flanagan adds fuel to overseas debate

LEINSTER selecting an all-Irish starting XV for last weekend's Pro12 clash with Cardiff was interpreted by many as a statement from Joe Schmidt along the lines of: "Look what we are doing with the existing system, why change?"

But it could also serve as an example why the IRFU's new policy to reduce dependence on overseas players could work, on the basis of: "Look, we don't need the foreigners as much as we thought."

It depends on your viewpoint, but there was another aspect to that Leinster win that deserves mention in the whole foreign-versus-native debate -- young Mark Flanagan, who had a fine game in the second-row.

Does Irish rugby benefit more by Flanagan getting that experience, or having the unfit and out of form South African Steven Sykes available?

Whatever about benefit, we know who cost more.

Irish Independent