Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is assured that he has three good choices to succeed the retired Johnny Sexton at fly half.
Sexton retired after the Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to New Zealand, bringing the curtain down on a 14-year worldwide profession.
Much of that was spent as Ireland’s undisputed first-choice ten, with the Leinster playmaker supplanting Ronan O’Gara because the nation’s all-time prime factors scorer in Test rugby in the course of the event in France.
Munster’s Jack Crowley would seem to have the within monitor on beginning Ireland’s opener in opposition to France in Marseille on Friday 2 February, however Leinster’s Harry Byrne and Ciaran Frawley have additionally been named in Farrell’s squad. Uber-talented teenager Sam Prendergast can even be a part of Ireland’s camp in Portugal as a “training panellist”.
The quartet have all hung out for both membership or nation as Sexton’s understudy, and Farrell believes that that schooling may have served them effectively as they attempt to fill his sizeable sneakers.
“Hopefully how Johnny has been as a leader and, more importantly, as a world-class, once-in-a-generation ten, they have learned something from that,” Farrell defined on the Six Nations launch in Dublin.
“Ciaran Frawley certainly is [in consideration at ten]. Sam [Prendergast] as well, coming to Portugal with us and having ten days learning the ropes there. He gets to have a look at us and we get to have a look at him and see how that progresses.
“Jack has been around for some time now and he’s seen how Johnny goes about his daily life in making sure that Jack didn’t get his place and kept on competing. On the same train of thought, Harry got to work with Johnny every single day. We are going to find out a lot about their character in the coming weeks.”
Sexton’s retirement has additionally left a captaincy emptiness, which will probably be stuffed by flanker Peter O’Mahony.
The veteran again rower turned 34 and gained his a centesimal cap in the course of the World Cup, however has performed a number of the greatest rugby of his profession in an Ireland shirt during the last 12 months.
While there was some thought that Farrell could look to a youthful candidate like James Ryan or Caelan Doris, the pinnacle coach believes that O’Mahony’s similarity as a pacesetter to Sexton ought to profit Ireland as they bid for a repeat of final 12 months’s grand slam triumph.
“Obviously there were a few candidates because we’ve got great leadership in the group,” Farrell mentioned. “As far as a natural fit, coming from what we’ve come from before with Johnny, [Peter O’Mahony] is the type of leader that’s exactly the same.
“Certain people walk into the room and they make it feel right. It’s important on matchday that you have that person in the dressing room and Peter is certainly one of those. I have no doubt he’ll do the country proud.”