Gordon D’Arcy: Andy Farrell’s conservative Ireland squad is a big chance missed

Planning for Japan and the All Blacks rather than France 2023 is a short-sighted choice

Simon Zebo is a populist selection - where does he fit into a World Cup jigsaw? Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Simon Zebo is a populist selection - where does he fit into a World Cup jigsaw? Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

It’s hard to shake the feeling that composition of the Ireland squad for the November Test series represents an opportunity missed. There are trace elements of positivity in the shape of a few young players who have been included like the uncapped duo Ciaran Frawley and Dan Sheehan but in delving beneath the headlines it is a relatively conservative selection.

There are also contradictory aspects in the selection with several players short on match minutes and in some cases form included while the genuine claims of others who impressed in the first five-game block of matches in the United Rugby Championship (URC) have been ignored. It represents mixed messages for players and that’s never a positive spin.

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