Ronan O’Gara has questioned Ciarán Frawley’s omission from Ireland’s Six Nations squad, while praising the Leinster back’s abilities at both 10 and 12.
Frawley was named in Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series squad, but the 24-year-old didn’t manage to win a cap for his country in November and his wait for an international debut looks set to continue.
Although Frawley is behind Robbie Henshaw in Leinster’s pecking order at inside centre, he has had plenty of opportunities for his province at 12 and has rarely put a foot wrong.
Despite his good form he has missed out on Ireland’s Six Nations squad and O’Gara identified Frawley as the one player who can feel really hard done by on Off The Ball.
Ronan O’Gara on Ciarán Frawley.
“It’s very competitive. You might think it is easy to pick 37 but another name jumping straight out at me is Ciaran Frawley, who didn’t make the squad,” O’Gara said.
“For me, he is probably the nearest thing to an Aaron Mauger we have on this side of the hemisphere. He is so adept at playing either 10 or 12, that second receiver role.
“He looks so, so interesting as a player. He has the physical attributes to play a direct game and then his feet are excellent, his passing game is excellent, his recognition of space is very, very good and he seems to be a threat every time he plays.
“For him not to be among the best 17 backs is probably incredibly disappointing for him.”
?️ He’s the nearest thing we have to Aaron Mauger
?️ His feet are excellent, his passing is excellent, he’s a threat
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) January 25, 2022
Andy Farrell has given several young players an opportunity.
Although Frawley has missed out on selection for the Six Nations, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has included a number of young up-and-coming players in his backline.
Uncapped duo Mike Lowry and Mack Hansen are in line to make their debuts for their country, off the back of impressive performances for Ulster and Connacht.
Ulster’s Robert Baloucoune and James Hume have also been given the opportunity to continue their burgeoning international careers, as they come into the Six Nations in fantastic form.
While Ireland played very well in the Autumn Nations Series with quite a settled team, there is room for experimentation among the backs, especially in light of James Lowe’s injury.