Thursday 22 February 2018

Exeter's Gareth Steenson could solve the No 10 crisis

Exeter Chiefs’ Gareth Steenson is a left-field solution to Ireland’s injury crisis at No 10
Exeter Chiefs’ Gareth Steenson is a left-field solution to Ireland’s injury crisis at No 10

Johnny O'Connor

The Ireland No 10 jersey is up for grabs for the Six Nations given all the injuries

We've known for a while that Johnny Sexton wasn't going to be available straight away, but after this weekend Joe Schmidt might have to go searching for his next options.

Paddy Jackson was playing his way back into form with Ulster, but he messed up his elbow away to Toulon so that opens the door for one or two more. Now it looks like Ian Madigan and Ian Keatley are the only fit fly-halves.

A few people have mentioned that Exeter's Gareth Steenson has a chance, and he certainly is one of the best kickers in England. To be starting every week for a big club like Exeter is obviously a major plus.

Madigan played well at 12 for Leinster against Castres but his limited time in the 10 shirt means there are questions about his game at international level. Keatley has been great for Munster, he's getting into their style of play and slotting vital drop-goals, so he can be trusted.

Down the line maybe Jack Carty is an outside bet - his performance against Exeter impressed me, but he still has plenty room to improve.

Irish Independent

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