While much attention was paid to style development during a fruitful November, Donal Lenihan believes Andy Farrell deserves credit for adding to Ireland’s squad.
Review of Ireland’s win over Argentina on RTÉs Against the head, Lenihan pointed out the sheer number of players the head coach has requested during an increasingly positive year 2021.
“People were surprised that Andy Farrell didn’t make any other changes for this Argentine game, but he did for a reason – he wanted this platform to be up front,” he said.
“But if you look at it in the bigger context, we’ve played 10 internationals this year and 52 different Irish players have seen playing time. That’s a phenomenal number of players. “
“A lot of you got integrated in the July period when we played Japan and the US because you had eight people with the Lions.
“But exposing 52 players in one season is incredible and I think that’s gone a little under the radar and Farrell deserves credit for that.”
Lenihan noted, however, that there are a small number of areas left on the team that may require more depth, with the tighthead prop being a position that requires cover behind Tadhg Furlong as Andrew Porter is in the front row to the loosehead changes.
– RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) 22. November 2021
“In terms of your strength in depth, there are still a few areas left, since Andrew Porter joined Loosehead I think there is now a place behind Tadhg Furlong at Tighthead,” he said.
“Finlay Bealham played there against New Zealand from the bench, Tom O’Toole came and got a few minutes against Argentina.
“And the big debate behind Johnny Sexton, I think the plus is that Joey Carbery had a really good game (against the Pumas) and to be fair Harry Byrne when he was substituted on was trying a little too hard at times but some of it ”over was great.
“We know he has the ingredients – his progress has been a bit choked on from injury like Joey lately – and we now know that Johnny Sexton is out for six weeks, so there is a window here that you can Harry Byrne.” would love to see them compete and I think we need these players to get behind the main players.
“We know the Six Nations will be very physical. You need that power in the depths as you travel to New Zealand next summer. “