Wednesday 13 November 2013

The case for sticking with Jack McGrath

The overwhelming expectation is that Joe Schmidt will name his strongest side available when the team is announced on Thursday and the big guns in Cian Healy, Paul O'Connell, Sean O'Brien and Johnny Sexton will come straight back into the XV.

While O'Brien will come straight back in for the injured Henry, and neither Toner, McCarthy or Jackson pulled up trees demanding selection to prevent the totems of O'Connell and Sexton coming back; a man of the match display from Jack McGrath should have Joe Schmidt pausing before he thrusts Cian Healy straight into the no.1 jersey.

Jack McGrath is enjoying his time in the Ireland camp.
Credit: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
At 24 years of age, McGrath is showing enough promise to suggest that loosehead prop is becoming a position of quality depth. Anything that can be done to develop McGrath as best as possible would be a huge benefit to Ireland.

Take for example, this weekend. The Australians aren't renowned as strong scrummagers, but they still have that star attraction that makes it exciting for any new internationals to play against. The confidence that McGrath would get from playing against them would be massive. Add to that the faith shown in him by Schmidt to make the call to select him ahead of Healy would be a real boost to him, and in the long term, Ireland too.

And if ever there was a time to do it; against a vulnerable giant of the game who happen to be weak in his position, the week after showing that he is able for this standard with a man of the match performance.

If this was the world cup final and you needed to select your best team, go with Healy all day long. But since it isn't, you don't lose much by selecting McGrath, and the benefits, especially long term, would be massive.

No comments:

Post a Comment