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
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.