Andy Farrell’s life as head coach of Ireland has started swimmingly after two victories against Scotland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium.
He takes his team to Twickenham this Sunday to face England in what will probably be the toughest match of his brief tenure so far. But off the back of a bonus point win against Wales in round two, Ireland have a sense of confidence that has been found wanting over the past twelve months.
In light of that performance against Wayne Pivac’s side, he has named an unchanged starting XV to run out in London, but that has not been universally well received amongst Ireland supporters.
Some fans have been disappointed so far by Farrell’s fairly conservative selection choices, by selecting established internationals ahead of form players. The prime example is Conor Murray’s selection, leaving one of Europe’s star players currently, John Cooney, having to be content with serving as his replacement.
Likewise, many feel Peter O’Mahony position is under threat, albeit he did not start against Scotland.
Disappointing. Omahoney and especially Murray don’t deserve stating spots
— AIDAN LYNCH (@lynch140) February 19, 2020
36 man squad for the same 23 man team for 5 rounds, cause you can be sure if they lose on Sunday the chosen ones will need an ego boost against Italy before going to Paris.
— Adam Porter (@jcb411abuser) February 19, 2020
So, as expected, there are questions raised about this selection. However, there are equally those that feel it would be strange to enforce unneeded changes after a good win.
A bonus point win against the reigning champions is nothing to be scoffed at, and as Farrell is finding his feet as a head coach, it is probably wise to stick with a formula that has worked.
— David Patterson (@DPatz13) February 19, 2020
Irish team has been named. No surprises that the team remain unchanged. https://t.co/W8FW72X3vB
— Master Of None Podcast (@none_podcast) February 19, 2020
This is why this was always going to be a tough selection for Farrell, as any decision he made was always going to receive a backlash. There is a rift amongst Irish supporters as to who should be playing, and it is therefore hard to please everyone.
Should Ireland beat England, it is likely he will stick with the same team at least for the France game, and few would question that decision. But with so many form players on the periphery, Farrell will still face those that insist changes must be made.