Tuesday 23 January 2018

The Left Wing: Luke Fitzgerald picks out two Munster stars to break into Joe Schmidt's Six Nations squad

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

On this week's episode of The Left Wing, Luke Fitzgerald breaks down big wins for Munster, Leinster and Connacht and picks out two in-form Irish players who could get the nod when Joe Schmidt announces his Six Nations squad.

The Ireland boss is set to announce his squad imminently, and Fitzgerald thinks that the recent form of Niall and Rory Scannell could see the Munster brothers included.

"I think Niall will get in because obviously Sean Cronin is injured," Fitzgerald said.

"I think Rory Scannell as well because he has been playing really good rugby. I'd be surprised if he wasn't included even just to get a taste for it, for what he offers Joe with a left foot option and his passing pre-contact. He looks a pretty complete player for me."

Fitzgerald also discussed the targeting of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray by opposing teams.

Sexton was hit high and late during Leinster's walloping of Montpellier while Murray had players diving at his standing leg during kicks in Munster's narrow win over Glasgow. Fitzgerald thinks that targeting players within the rules 'makes perfect sense', but adds that resorting to foul play to take out opposing stars will do more harm than good.

"There are guys on every team that are really important and I have no problem with teams targeting those guys, in terms of running guys down their channel or if they can tackle them fairly, they put an extra hit on them," Fitzgerald said.

"It makes perfect sense to me to be doing that. I think the responsibility falls on the referees to look after players. I also think it's not a smart ploy to take them out with dirty play. We saw with Montpellier and Glasgow, when their guys were off the pitch, that is what really cost them the game."

Fitzgerald breaks down Munster's spectacular winning score in Scotland, which culminated with Keith Earls finding All Black Francis Saili on the left wing with a gorgeous reverse pass.

The former Ireland international also analyses Jack Conan's contribution to Leinster's big win, focusing on the back row's sharp pre-contact handling in the build-up to the second try.

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