Eire head coach Andy Farrell will reveal how expertise, earlier service, expertise and present kind are weighted in his calculations when asserting the composition of his squad for the upcoming Six Nations Championship. These traits are unlikely to be of uniform significance.
If present kind was an overriding marker then Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock and one in all Skibbereen’s best rugby sons, Munster’s Gavin Coombes could be shoo-ins based mostly on performances for his or her respective provinces this season. In a quirk of destiny in addition they share a number of similarities statistically in analyzing the season up to now, possessing overlapping qualities.
The 30-year-old Ruddock has 26 Eire caps and ticks all 4 bins on the subject of the aforementioned standards. He has been excellent for Leinster this season, as an interim captain and participant, through the province’s matches within the Pro14 and Champions Cup, successful a mantelpiece filled with man of the match accolades.
Ruddock has performed 10 of Leinster’s 11 matches this season, six at quantity eight, three at blindside flanker and one as a alternative. Leinster forwards coach Robin McBryde spoke earlier within the week in regards to the participant’s qualities, highlighting collision dominance, how efficient Ruddock is on either side of the ball and the management that he has introduced.
Jack Conan’s absence by means of harm till just lately and Caelan Doris’s commitments with Eire meant that Ruddock was handed the quantity eight jersey moderately than his extra conventional position of blindside flanker. There was no diminution in his affect and he coped with the change of circumstances impressively to some extent the place he began at quantity eight within the Champions Cup sport in opposition to the Northampton Saints.
Considered one of his strongest attributes is his energy in touch, his means to ensure optimistic gainlines typically in heavy visitors and the capability to aggressively and successfully shut down opposition ball carriers. Leinster misplaced the one match by which he didn’t participate, the 35-24 defeat to Connacht on the RDS.
Leo Cullen spoke within the aftermath of how his aspect hadn’t matched Connacht’s vitality, bodily intent and depth, qualities that Ruddock ensures and calls for of, or procures from, his team-mates when he’s on the pitch.
Coombes shares lots of Ruddock’s attributes based mostly on that energy sport, a corrosive ball provider who could be very troublesome to cease from shut vary as a number of groups have discovered first hand this season. What the 23-year-old west Cork man additionally possesses is great passing and dealing with abilities.
At six foot, six inches he’s a lineout choice – he can play within the secondrow too – and his physicality within the sort out and on the breakdown (seven turnovers) is a sizeable asset.
Coombes, like Ruddock, has performed 10 of his crew’s 11 matches this season, the primary couple as a alternative after which eight begins, 5 at quantity eight when Munster’s worldwide contingent have been largely not round and the final three video games at blindside flanker.
Throughout that run he’s scored seven tries, principally in eight matches – his first two video games of the season off the bench have been for 17 and 19 minutes – together with a hat-trick in opposition to the Ospreys and his most up-to-date in opposition to Harlequins within the Champions Cup. His performances have additionally been recognised with a number of man-of-the-match awards.
In a curious coincidence that ties that two gamers collectively, the one match by which Coombes was not a part of Munster’s matchday 23, Johann van Graan’s aspect have been overwhelmed in Belfast. Ruddock and Coombes have performed 10 of 11 matches this season for the respective provinces and within the sport they missed, their groups misplaced.
Coombes represented Eire at underage degree and there’s no doubting his aptitude to progress if he maintains his present fee of enchancment and develops one or two facets of his sport.
This season a work-on is to maintain pushing health ranges that permit him to take care of a constant affect within the high-calibre video games. He doesn’t should look very far for inspiration. CJ Stander’s psychological and bodily toughness, his unrelenting work-rate is one thing to which Coombes may aspire.
Farrell might want to make investments time in Coombes, acclimatise him within the nationwide squad first in a coaching capability. To that finish the younger Munster flanker might want to impress once more on Saturday.
He’s not assured choice, neither is Ruddock, which appears ludicrous contemplating how good they’ve been however each ought to begin, presumably within the quantity six jersey.
Assuming it’s not a draw and so they play, both Coombes or Ruddock is about to lose their standing as talismans, having been on the successful aspect in all 10 matches by which they’ve participated. The comfort for the participant who finally ends up disenchanted on Saturday could also be a spot in Farrell’s Eire squad alongside the participant extending that successful sequence.