Leamy questions Ireland's Leinster reliance
March 14, 2014
Denis Leamy in action for Ireland, before injury forced him to retire © Getty Images
Denis Leamy has questioned Joe Schmidt's Ireland selection policy saying the coach is relying to heavily on players from his old province Leinster.
Leamy, a former Munster and Ireland stalwart, questioned the decision to drop Paddy Jackson from the squad for Saturday's Six Nations crunch match against France. Former Leinster coach Schmidt has called in Ian Madigan as cover for Jonathan Sexton in Paris, leaving Jackson out of the match-day 23.
Writing in the Irish Independent, Leamy said: "I think what rankles with Munster people - and I suspect some folk in Ulster- is that guys who aren't first choice in Leinster are still good enough for the national squad.
"I would have to disagree with some of the calls. Tommy O'Donnell lost his place on the bench, I think he is a better player than Jordi Murphy.
"I would argue that Donnacha Ryan brings more to the table than Rhys Ruddock and you just have to wonder what Simon Zebo - a Lion last summer - has to do to get back into the squad. Paddy Jackson has a more rounded game at the moment than Ian Madigan.
"The World Cup is just a year and a half away. The circle will need to be widened and not having done that in the Six Nations narrows the opportunities."
Ireland are in a three-way shoot-out with England and France for the Six Nations title. All three sides go into tomorrow with a chance of winning the championship, but Ireland have the advantage of a superior points difference over their title rivals.
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