"It would be stupid to write off all those players" | Brian O'Driscoll on Andy Farrell's future "juggling act"


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Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

16.56 23 Oct 2019


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Brian O'Driscoll feels it would be unwise for the next Ireland set-up to cast some of the veteran players aside.

Andy Farrell steps up from defence coach to head coach, aiming to right the wrongs of this Rugby World Cup.

He faces some immediate issues however, including whether he should begin building for 2023 right away with a younger generation or conversely to keep hold of a few stalwarts for the early period of his reign.

Brian O'Driscoll joined us on Wednesday Night Rugby and cautioned against certain drastic measures.

"Coaches of course have one eye on the World Cup," he said.

"But he's also very much living in the moment. If he has a first year of big disappointments and multiple losses, straight away his job is going to be under scrutiny.

"So you have to live in the here and now but also keep one eye on four years' time. So he'd be stupid to write off all those players that are coming into the winter of their careers, who mightn't be involved in four years' time and just cast them aside.

Seasoned Internationals

"Because he still needs to pick off wins and build the confidence of the rest of the side, while he makes the progression from current players to future ex-players and then bringing through those younger lads - the Larmours, the Stockdales, the James Ryans, the Joey Carberys - brings them into being seasoned internationals.

"It's a bit of a juggling act. You can't just cut ties with guys who have been there forever that still have a couple of good years left them. I think you've got to have an intergration process and I'm sure he'll do that. He's a smart enough coach to realise he's still going to need key players - and key leaders as well. Because leadership isn't just about experience. It's also what you can hand down to those younger players the more time you spend with them in camp, at training sessions and obviously in games. So he needs them to impart their knowledge."

Meanwhile, James Ryan's name has come up as a future captain. A young Ireland captain in his own time, BOD feels Ryan has potential to fulfill the role.

"I think he's one of the obvious candidates for sure," he said.

"He's clearly got the respect of the whole squad. And he has quickly become a mainstay and a focal point of the pack. Arguably one of Ireland's best players, probably in the Top 3 most consistent performers over the last year or 18 months. Even during this World Cup, his numbers are still pretty impressive. You could do an awful lot worse than making him captain and giving him that wealth of experience for a couple of years in advance of going into a World Cup in four years."

You can watch the full chat with Brian O'Driscoll on our YouTube channel above.

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All Blacks Brian O'Driscoll Ireland Joe Schmidt New Zealand Off The Ball Rugby Rugby World Cup

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