Keith Wood on why it's wrong not to give Donnacha Ryan a national contract

Ex-Ireland captain on the Munster player

Ireland, Donnacha Ryan,

Ireland's Donnacha Ryan during a maul ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood feels Munster second row Donnacha Ryan should have been offered a central contract by the IRFU.

The 33 year old Ireland international has been having an excellent season for his province but has not been offered a new deal and now appears set for a move to France with Racing 92.

With a general policy of not picking overseas players, it appears as if Ryan won't be an option for Ireland if a move is confirmed. 

Speaking to Off The Ball, Wood shares his concerns about the Ryan situation.

"I'm uncomfortable with the Donnacha Ryan thing," he said.

"He has played phenomenal rugby. Absolutely phenomenal rugby of a type that we don't have now that Paul O'Connell is gone.

"Iain Henderson is a fantastic footballer and is definitely one for the future and is one even for the now playing beside someone like Donnacha Ryan. Devin Toner obviously is an excellent line out player, really, really good performer.

"But you need a hard, nutty, difficult second row and I'm disappointed that he didn't get a national contract. I think that then puts Munster under huge pressure." 

Wood added that when Ryan has been absent, Ireland have "missed the grit that he brings" to his position.

"I would have him on a national contract for the very simple reason, both Donnacha Ryan and Peter O'Mahony for me are kind of like throwbacks. They're the real hard aggressive guys," he said.

"Donnacha Ryan, when he's played for Ireland and Munster this year, has been back to his best and has played like an enforcer and we don't have a huge number of them in Ireland. So for me, he should have been given a national contract." 

He added that "I just don't like the idea we've lost an Irish player now and that's the reality at the end of it".

Wood and The Irish Times' Gerry Thornley also looked ahead to Saturday's Champions Cup quarter finals for Leinster and Munster against Wasps and Toulouse respectively.