Saturday 20 July 2019

'I'd love to see Jack Conan in there' - Luke Fitzgerald on the three changes he would make to the Ireland team

Jack Conan could feature at number eight for Ireland against Scotland. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Jack Conan could feature at number eight for Ireland against Scotland. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Luke Fitzgerald thinks that Ireland should start Sean O'Brien, Jack Conan and Chris Farrell as they look to bounce back against Scotland this weekend.

Joe Schmidt's side were dominanted by England at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday, and now face into a tricky trip to Murrayfield to take on Scotland.

Injuries to Devin Toner, Garry Ringrose and CJ Stander mean that Schmidt will have to rotate his squad, with Sean O'Brien one of the likely players to come in.

Speaking on The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast in association with Aldi, Luke Fitzgerald said that he thinks O'Brien and Jack Conan should come into the back row, with Munster centre Chris Farrell replacing Ringrose in the backline.

"I don't think Josh van der Flier did anything wrong at the weekend and he has a great body of work behind him," Fitzgerald said.

"Sean O'Brien is world class. He showed it when he came on against England. He was one of the few guys who got momentum in the tight exchanges. I would love to see him in there, and that's not a stain on Josh. He has been brilliant all year.

"I'd also love to see Jack Conan in there. I think you can make a really, really good case that he should have been in there instead of CJ Stander in November. This would be a big chance for him."

"I'd go for Chris Farrell in the centre. Rob Kearney played worse against the Scarlets than Rob Kearney did against England. That was Rob's second game since November and that was his big chance."

Ireland's Six Nations title defence is off to a rocky start, with a defeat this weekend spelling the end of the team's trophy hopes. However, Fitzgerald is back Ireland to bounce back at Murrayfield and pull away for a two-try victory.

"I think Ireland will do it this week, and I think they will do it well," Fitzgerald said.

"I think it will be two tries - 14 points. It's great to hear that there is an edge in camp. When you sense that early in the week, that's interesting."

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