In the aftermath of Ireland’s loss to England in the Six Nations Championship on Saturday evening, many are calling for Joe Schmidt to take an experimental approach in the final two games.
Following the successful inception of Ultan Dillane, Stuart McCloskey and Josh Van Der Flier into the team, 2016 could be looked back upon in the future as the year that a new ‘golden generation’ were introduced.
The final games against Italy and Scotland are essentially dead rubbers, so Schmidt could do a lot worse than looking to bring more new faces into the side.
Former Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll was speaking to Newstalk’s Off The Ball last night, and made a case for Connacht winger Matt Healy.
The Connacht flyer has been impressive in attack this year as the western province make an assault on the Pro12.
He has scored some marvelous tries to date this year, using his gas to touch down for five points on several occasions. This effort against the Scarlets shows how fast he really is.
Video via Pro12.
BOD was full of praise for the 26 year-old.
“I think we need more game-breaking players in our team. I think we’ve got very solid players and guys that defensively are very sure of themselves but I really think we’re missing a trick in not having someone like Healy who is a pure out and out finisher. It’s exciting every time he gets the ball. I’m surprised he wasn’t in the squad in some capacity, even if it’s just for experience.
“I think he’s a guy that brings something that we don’t really have – to a certain degree Keith Earls is capable of those flashes of brilliance, and that pure electric nature of his game, but I think he (Healy) brings another level of it.
“I would like to see him involved, I think he’s earned the right at this stage with his performances for Connacht.”
Quotes via Ball.ie.
While the concept of having as many Connacht players as possible in the side is certainly a romantic notion, one must look at the facts before jumping the gun.
Schmidt holds defensively strong wingers in high esteem, and to that end, Andrew Trimble may struggle to hold onto his place after his showing on Saturday.
While O’Driscoll has rightly pointed out that Healy is as exciting an attacking winger as there is in the country at present, he does get found wanting in defence.
Video via Iwan Lewis.
It is this writer’s view that he is currently too far down the pecking order. Craig Gilroy deserves a shot, while Dave Kearney and Tommy Bowe are set to return from injury. Munster pair Simon Zebo and Keith Earls are continuing to impress, while Jared Payne’s potential switch to fullback means that competition is high in the back three.
Healy may have to bide his time and continue to produce the goods before Joe Schmidt comes calling.