Thursday 23 November 2017

Have we seen Mike Ross in an Ireland jersey for the last time? - Five talking points from Joe Schmidt's squad

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Joe Schmidt has named a 34-man squad for the trip to Chicago on November 5 to face the mighty All Blacks. Here are the talking points.

1. John Ryan leapfrogs Mike Ross in the pecking order

Ross has been one of Schmidt's most consistent starters in his three years at the helm but won't be taking on the All Blacks.

Munster tighthead John Ryan has been in stellar form and was central in the provinces complete demolition of the Glasgow pack last weekend.

With Finlay Bealham and Tadhg Furlong also vying for the number 3 jersey, we may never see Ross in the green jersey again.

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Munster's John Ryan Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

2. Joey Carbery rewarded

The Athy native has been highly impressive in the absence of Johnny Sexton this season at Leinster.

His growing influence was exemplified in Leinster's late push in Montpellier on Sunday which yielded a losing bonus point.

His evasive running style has earned a lot of admirers across Europe and should get a chance to showcase his talents against the Canadians.

Joey Carbery is tackled by Castres's Antoine Dupont. Picture: PA

3. Iain Henderson's inclusion highlights his importance

The Ulster powerhouse makes the squad despite Les Kiss suggesting that he will be out for 2-4 weeks with a shoulder problem.

Players like Stuart Olding, Tommy Bowe, Dave Kearney and Tiernan O'Halloran are also struggling with belts but have not made the squad.

The make-up of the Irish second row on November 5 will make for interesting viewing with Devin Toner, Ultan Dillane, Donnacha Ryan and Billy Holland all in the running.

Iain Henderson. Photo: Sportsfile

4. Who starts at full-back?

Schmidt will have plenty of options when it comes to who he deploys at 15.

Jared Payne started the first two Tests in South Africa in the pivotal position but will he return to the centre with Simon Zebo and Rob Kearney now available?

Most observers would like to see Garry Ringrose given a chance at 13. Decisions, decisions.

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Ireland's Jared Payne (left) is tackled by South Africa's Willie le Roux. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

5. Jack McGrath or Cian Healy

The loosehead props have been interchanging this season for Leinster with both in good form.

Both will more than likely see game time in a fast-paced game against the world champions but who will start?

Lions boss Warren Gatland may be keeping a close eye on proceedings as he begins to formulate the make-up of his front-rowers for the trip to New Zealand next summer.

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Cian Healy

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