Wednesday 24 January 2018

Openside options

Sam Warburton won the battle of the breakdown in the World Cup quarter-final, but O'Brien had a productive tournament in the No 7 jersey, with a shared workload among the Irish back-row allowing the Tullow man to wreak his customary havoc on the ball. Certain to be a fixture in the Irish back-row for the foreseeable future but if an out-and-out 'fetcher' is brought in, O'Brien may be shifted.

Dominic Ryan

A coming force at Leinster, with the strength, speed and bit of dog to be a force in the breakdown battle. Has been performing well, but it is a question of getting Ryan sufficient game-time in a squad packed with international back-row talent.

Peter O'Mahony

Like Ryan, has all the attributes to be a top-quality openside and the attitude to go with it. David Wallace's awful injury has freed up the jersey and O'Mahony looks like a perfect fit.

Willie Faloon

Faloon's biggest admirers seem to be outside Ulster, for the Ballynahinch man is consistently overlooked for the starting openside slot. Recent poor results may necessitate change of mind.

Irish Independent

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