Ronan O'Gara believes that John Cooney's versatility changes Andy Farrell's squad management during the Six Nations, as the team to face Scotland is announced.
O'Gara joined OTB AM to discuss the team for Scotland and believes that Ulsterman Cooney holds the key to a strong showing from Farrell's side.
"If you have John Cooney involved your 23, then do you carry a 10 sub? Is he a goal-kicking 10 option? Then you can have two outfield backs which completely changes your squad," said O'Gara.
"If that is the case, then you can have Bundee Aki and one of Larmour or Addison. You can have a Cooney/Aki/Conway or Cooney/Aki/Addison on the bench.
"After 50 minutes of giving Scotland a picture of an attacking threat, you could put on Aki, or Aki and Conway, into the mix.
"A lot of players take security in their defending pictures during the week, but they wouldn't have seen any of those pictures."
O'Gara on squad management
O'Gara believes that this shows how squads need to be managed in the modern game.
"Getting fixated on the 1 to 15 is probably the wrong thing to do. It is a 23-man game.
"Coaches are picking teams about how they want to finish and finish strong as well.
"You might say that you should have your strongest team starting, but I would use the example of Sean Cronin. When Cronin finishes, the team is stronger because he is such an exceptional impact player.
"So there are any different ways of putting a team together."
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John Cooney & back options
"I think it is an incredibly exciting time for Irish rugby in that the back line - there is great choice there.
"You might say that it was there for the World Cup. But we didn't have [Will] Addison and he seems to be playing incredibly well for Ulster.
"There are certain players that stand out for having time on the ball and he seems to be the Irish player [to do so.] He makes a lot of hard things look easy, which is a great trait to have. He looks very interesting.
"Larmour has taken his game to another level. He has benefited from working with Contepomi and Stuart Lancaster. His game has accelerated.
"Those are two guys that are very much in the mix to start the game."
"Back line one against back line two would have been an interesting training session because I don't think that there is much between them.
"If you have that competition Monday to Friday, it means that the team that takes the pitch on Saturday has a great chance of doing the work."
Ireland open their Six Nations campaign against Scotland this Saturday at 16:45.
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