Ireland have been plagued with injuries throughout this Six Nations Championship. However these clouds have had a silver lining with the likes of Josh Van Der Flier, Ultan Dillane and Stuart McCloskey benefitting from injuries to those ahead of them in the pecking order.
Today, Cian Healy has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Italy clash, and Finlay Bealham will take his place on the bench behind Jack McGrath. With the Italians set to bring a strong scrum to the Aviva Stadium, it is likely that Bealham will be called upon for the last 20 minutes.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 11, 2016
The Australian-born Bealham arrived in Ireland in 2010, and qualifies through his grandmother from Ulster.
The loosehead prop has been solid for Connacht this season, and while this is a step up that the 24 year-old will relish, it is a big ask to take on the Azzurri tomorrow afternoon.
With Ireland out of contention for the Six Nations, many fans are calling upon Joe Schmidt to bring in more young players, as tomorrow may be the last opportunity to experiment until Canada come to Dublin next November.
While the selection for tomorrow has been criticised as being too conservative, this is certainly a positive step for Bealham, and his debut will have a healthy impact upon the front row in the long term.