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O'Driscoll: Only ONE England player is good enough to start for Ireland and Addison's a 'shoo-in' for World Cup squad

Brian O’Driscoll.
Brian O’Driscoll.

Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll believes Billy Vunipola would be good enough to get into the current Ireland side, but none of his other English colleagues would.

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BOD, who turned 40 this week, believes the Saracens number 8 would oust CJ Stander in a combined England-Ireland XV.

"I was asked what England player, if I could pick one, would I want to bring across," he said on Off The Ball AM.

"I went through the whole team and the journalist said: 'So, that's none.'

"Then I back tracked because I didn't want him to print 'no one' in the article, so I told him a fit Manu Tuliangi would. But then, I don't think you're dropping either of our guys (for him).

"Maybe Billy (Vunipola) makes it.

"Take the second row. James Ryan for me is in, that's it. You've got Dev Toner for your line-out and now what he's doing around the park.

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"Our front row... England's hooker is no better than Rory Best no matter what their options are.

"In the back row, Billy would have been the (only) choice."

O'Driscoll selected Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, at 12 and 13 respectively, as the best centre partnership available to Joe Schmidt.

He believes the Leinster duo will be joined by Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell on the plane to Japan and has tipped Ulster centre Will Addison to join them.

He also revealed that he heard the versatile back was recording the fastest speeds among the Irish backs.

"I think Addison is going to go because of his versatility. I think he might even be recording the fastest times. I think he might even be quicker than (Jacob) Stockdale," he added.

"Of the centres, he's comfortably the fastest.

"He can play wing, he can full-back a lot, he's done a great job for Ulster at 13. At the moment, I think he's a shoo-in for the 31.

"He'll really Joe Schmidt out but it's going to be at the loss of someone else in the back three.

"I think he might get into the matchday 23 against England (ahead of Jordan Larmour), even though Larmour has been outstanding every time that he's been involved."


From Belfast Telegraph