Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has drafted Leinster winger Fergus McFadden into the Ireland squad ahead of their final Six Nations clash with England on Saturday in a move that has bemused many fans of the green jersey.
Bowe was ruled out following a suspected broken leg suffered during a fleeting appearance against Wales in the dying minutes of their clash in Cardiff last Friday, an injury that could well end the injury prone winger’s season.
As McFadden links up with the Ireland camp, fans have been openly critical of Schmidt’s choice of replacement for the final game, with most believing it was an opportunity to give the rising stars of the new generation a chance to gain invaluable experience on the international stage, against the form side in world rugby.
Fergus McFadden has played 4 games this season, just two full 80 mins. Penny for the thoughts of some of the young, form wingers in Ireland.
— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) March 13, 2017
Fergus McFadden called in to replace Tommy Bowe in Ireland set-up.
I give up.
— The Loose Head (@TheLooseH) March 13, 2017
Can someone explain why Fergus McFadden has been called in to replace Tommy Bowe in the Ireland camp? Byrne, Gilroy, Sweetnam, Healy maybe?
— Rugbai (@RugbaiYT) March 14, 2017
Fergus mcfadden and the continuing problem of nostalgia over form
— Propwinger (@propwinger) March 13, 2017
Fergus McFadden recalled to the Irish squad ! WFT !! Schmidt has completely lost it !!!
— Charlie (@crusa) March 13, 2017
Did I read that right? Fergus McFadden in for Tommy Bowe in the Ireland squad. Interesting notes on that inclusion beckon. #IrevEng
— Hawkeye Sidekick (@hawkeyesidekick) March 13, 2017
Fergus McFadden called into the Irish squad is a slap in the face to the young in form wingers in Ireland.
— Dan Costello (@dannyc150) March 13, 2017
— Patrick Bracken (@PatrickBracken3) March 13, 2017
While the merits of fans’ arguments are well made and perhaps even justified, it must be remembered that following their loss to Wales on Friday, plus their defeat to Scotland on day one of the Six Nations, Ireland’s place as a top tier side ahead of the Rugby World Cup group selections is no longer as assured as it had been following the November series of tests.
Scotland and Wales are now well within touching distance of Joe Schmidt’s men and with a monumental challenge against the Grand Slam seeking England, it looks like Schmidt is going to experience over the exuberance of youth as he battles with the bigger picture in mind.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
On this week’s edition of The Oval Office Podcast, Lee Byrne tells us what’s gone wrong with Wales and how many dragons are likely to feature for the Lions.