Kidney to pick from wealth of talent
The suspense surrounding Declan Kidney’s first selection of his Ireland tenure is heightened by the dazzling displays by the new generation of backline talent this season.
Kidney no doubt has indulged in much head-scratching over the last week, and no wonder.
Picking a back three alone is a daunting prospect for what is expected to be a full-strength side to face Canada at Thomond Park on Saturday.
It would clearly be tempting for Kidney, in his first game in charge, to turn to the experience of Shane Horgan, Girvan Dempsey or Geordan Murphy.
But the bold pick, with an eye to the future, would see a trio of Tommy Bowe and Robert Kearney on the wings and Keith Earls at full-back.
The midfield conundrum also comes into play.
Does he go for Paddy Wallace at 12 to partner Brian O’Driscoll, or move the Ireland captain to 12 and play Luke Fitzgerald at 13?
If he goes for Wallace, does Fitzgerald then come into the reckoning on the wings.
Eoin Reddan and Ronan O’Gara should be the half-backs while Rory Best looks set to edge out Jerry Flannery at hooker with the rest of the front five picking itself and Shane Jennings coming in for Denis Leamy.