Alan Quinlan has backed James Hume to feature for Ireland in the Six Nations if he keeps up his impressive form for Ulster.
Hume won his first cap for Ireland last July against the United States and gave a good account of himself in a rampant 71-10 Irish victory at the Aviva Stadium.
The Ulsterman was included in Ireland’s squad for the Autumn Nations series but didn’t feature in the three games against Japan, New Zealand and Argentina, as Bundee Aki, Garry Henshaw and Garry Ringrose started ahead of him.
The 23-year-old has continued to impress for Ulster since then however, and Quinlan told Virgin Media that he believes Hume could get another opportunity for Ireland in the upcoming Six Nations.
Alan Quinlan on James Hume.
“I think if James Hume puts in some big performances at the weekend and next week I think he’s kind of elevated himself up to a different level,” Quinlan said.
“I know he’s highly thought of in the Irish set-up now. He really impressed in November being in with the squad. So I think he’s a guy that can get better, he’s a lovely balanced runner, he’s become a bit more physical and he has lovely footwork.
“So I think he has a real shot at the Six Nations. I know it’s a very competitive area for Ireland and there’s a fair bit of depth there but I think James Hume is someone to keep an eye out for and I think he could feature at some stage.”
Will James Hume light up the Six Nations?
Alan Quinlan named the @ulsterrugby man as the player to force his way into the squad with less than a month to Round 1.
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) January 14, 2022
Ireland’s options at centre.
Although Hume looks like a very promising prospect for his country, there is currently no shortage of talent at centre for Ireland.
Ringrose, Aki and Henshaw have regularly started at centre in the last few years, although Chris Farrell and Stuart McCloskey have also shown that they are well able for international rugby in recent times.
Hume primarily plays at outside centre, although he has filled in at inside centre on a number of occasions and picked up the man of the match award in Ulster’s win against Leinster at the RDS in November.
While two of Ringrose, Aki and Henshaw are likely to start in Ireland’s opening Six Nations encounter against Wales if fit, Hume could find himself on the bench and may be given a starting role against Italy in round three.