Tuesday 16 April 2013

Irish Summer tour squad

4 Years ago Rory Best was on this tour, which of the current squad could make the Lions in 4 years time?

The importance of Ireland's summer tour has increased significantly due to the horrendous showing in the 6 Nations. The games against the US and Canada are a perfect opportunity to look at new players, for others to get used to the system, and for others to step up and start establishing leadership material. The games in Georgia for the new "Emerging Ireland" should also be used for development

This tour will allow the management a closer look at some of the talent that they feel isn't ready for bigger challenges yet. These are the squads I would pick;


Whether or not Rob Kearney goes to Australia, there is no benefit for him to be on the tour to America. This tour should look at Felix Jones in an Irish jersey, and give Keith Earls an opportunity in what should be his position fullback. Robbie Henshaw should remain with the 20's to ensure that they do as well as possible. It might be worth looking at Adam D'Arcy soon too.

For Georgia, I've been impressed with Ricky Andrew for Ulster, and would give Andrew Conway a run here too.


If Keith Earls is picked as a winger, then Dave Kearney can play full-back, either way, both can fill in both positions. Tiernan O'Halloran and Niall Morris have had strong seasons, and it might be worth looking at the leadership capabilities of Andrew Trimble.

Luke O'Dea, Chris Cochrane, Mike Allen and Shane Monaghan would be my choices for Georgia. Cochrane and Allen have featured well for Ulster, O'Dea is on the cusp for Munster and Monaghan has done well in a promising first season for Gloucester.

Craig Gilroy, Tommy Bowe and Simon Zebo aren't chosen even if for some reason none of them make the Lions tour. Bowe could benefit from a full pre-season, and Gilroy and Zebo would also benefit for what would be a rare summer off in their promising careers, especially with other players that deserve a look at.

Outside Centre

Brian O'Driscoll isn't going to be insulted with the trip to America.

Darren Cave and Eoin O'Malley should have the straight fight between them to see who should be next in line.

Danny Barnes, Brendan Macken and Eoin Griffen should go to Georgia, with Griffen and Barnes able to play wing, and Macken can slot in at 12.

Inside Centre

Luke Marshall needs some time away from the game to recover from all the head wounds. This tour wouldn't be a good idea for him. D'Arcy is in the same boat as O'Driscoll.

McSharry's injury is unfortunate as I think he would have been the main beneficiary of this tour.

James Downey and Ian Keatley are the only two left.

Noel Reid and Jordan Coughlan should travel to Georgia.

Sturat Olding remains with the 20s.


Ian Madigan and Paddy Jackson. Some of these calls I don't have to explain.

Georgia should be JJ Hanrahan, Gareth Steenson and Ian McKinney who is returning to Ulster next season. I felt that Keatley was a bit old for "Emerging Ireland" and that Hanrahan would benefit from a starting position. Gareth Steenson has been superb for Exeter and should feature, allowing JJ to show what he can do at 12 too.


Boss, Murray and Reddan shouldn't be involved.

Leaving Paul Marshall and Kieran Marmion to both get the chances they deserve.

I would choose John Cooney and Michael Heaney for Georgia, with Cathal Sheridan missing out.

Luke McGrath remains with the 20s.


Dave Kilcoyne's leadership skills should be tested on the tour, while Jack McGrath's impressive form should earn him a look at too.

Denis Buckley and Jack O'Connell travel to Georgia, with Tom Court getting the summer off.


Richardt Strauss has a chance to familiarise himself with some of the squad, while establishing a leadership role. Mike Sherry should be his back up.

Niall Annett and Jason Harris- Wright would benefit most from Georgia


With South Africa and Georgia known for strong scrummaging, I've chosen Jamie Hagan and Michael Bent to go to Georgia to work on that.

Stephen Archer and Ricky Lutton travel to America with Mike Ross finally getting a rest.

Second Rows:

Dan Tuohy, Devin Toner and Lewis Stevenson travel to the US, with Iain Henderson in support.

O'Connell, O'Callaghan, Cullen, Ryan and Mike McCarthy have no business in America.

Mick Kearney, Dan Qualter, Ian Nagle and Tom Denton get a chance in Georgia.


This tour is tailor-made for Rhys Ruddock to show the Irish management what he can do. Jordi Murphy should be rewarded with the back up place in the tour.

Robin Copeland has impressed with Cardiff, and Ben Marshall are good choices for Georgia.


It's about time Tommy O'Donnell was capped, and I think he should be in Irelands 23, if not starting 15. Dominic Ryan is next best openside.

Sean Dougall and Ali Birch from Ulster travel to Georgia.

No. 8.

This tour gives the management a better chance to look at Robbie Diack, and perhaps also test Chris Henry's leadership qualities.
Giving Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip a summer off if they aren't with the Lions.

Eoin McKeon and Paddy Butler travel to Georgia.

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