Bernard Jackman has criticised Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad selections for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.
The former Ireland hooker told the RTE rugby podcast that he was puzzled by Farrell’s selection of uncapped Ulster prop Tom O’Toole, who is just 22 years old.
That selection along with picking Tadhg Furlong and Dave Kilcoyne, both of whom have just returned from long-term injuries, has given Jackman reason for concern.
📄 𝗦𝗶𝘅 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗦𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗱 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 🟢
Head Coach Andy Farrell has named a 36-man Ireland squad for the upcoming #GuinnessSixNations, including uncapped players Craig Casey and Tom O’Toole 🙌#ShoulderToShoulder #IrishRugby pic.twitter.com/wPrUwsT2K1
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 25, 2021
“The props selection makes no sense,” said Jackman.
“Tom O’Toole is a player for the future but if he had to start tighthead in a game against Wales we’d be worried.
“He’s going to be a great player but he’s not really ready to play top European Cup rugby yet as a scrummager so I think he’s in there for experience so effectively we’ve gone with four props, realistically who are proven at international level.
“The fact that they are in a bubble does make it harder to move people in and out so I don’t see why they would limit themselves to four and a half prop decisions.”
‘There are a lot of issues I’d be concerned about’
Fellow former Ireland international Donal Lenihan was also surprised by Farrell‘s selections, saying that he feels the make up of the squad is “a little bit lopsided”.
“It’s a funny squad from the point of view that we’ve only named two looseheads, and one of those, Dave Kilcoyne, has played little or no rugby for the past couple of months,” said Lenihan.
“Yet, we’ve picked five second rows and five centres. If you consider Peter O’Mahony, who I think will start at seven, then we’ve three sevens as well. It’s a little bit of a lopsided selection for me in a number of areas.
“Are we saying, by picking only two looseheads, one of which is Dave Kilcoyne, who certainly deserves a go, but if Cian Healy got injured in the first five minutes against Wales, has Dave Kilcoyne the gas to play 75 mins?
“There are a lot of issues I’d be concerned about with the squad.”