Caelan Doris backed for Lions despite England's expected Test XV domination
"If he can keep building on the early form... there’s no reason why he can’t put his hand up for Lions selection."
Much of Andy Farrell's 'boys became men tonight' comment, after Ireland lost 18-7 to England, was taken as a head coach trying to go easy on a much-changed team after a tough loss. However, we are witnessing 22-year-old Caelan Doris finding his feet in the brutal world of Test rugby.
"Sometimes you have to take the ball up into a brick wall and take your medicine," Farrell reflected. "The amount of times that Caelan Doris came out the other side was unbelievable, the amount of times that he kept offering himself."
Of the Irish pack that started against England, only Doris, Peter O'Mahony and, to an extent, Andrew Porter emerged with much credit. According to House of Rugby Ireland host Ian Madigan, Doris' lack of quit, allied to his form in recent months, has only increased his standing in the northern hemisphere.
And (listen from 7:15 below), the Ulster and Ireland outhalf outlined why Doris could well make the 2021 British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa.
On the previous episode, former England and Lions winger Ugo Monye suggested at least six of the English pack could start the Lions' Test Series against the Springboks. On the evidence of England's latest powerhouse victory, it could well be more.
"The English back row is incredibly strong at the moment," says Madigan, "even if you look at the guys that aren’t in the squad or even the guys that are coming off the bench. The likes of Ben Earl – you see him coming on and it’s just endless, the talent they have there.
"But, at the same time, you look at Caelan Doris at the weekend and he was a real stand-out performer. He’s someone that every time he carries the ball, he seems to find an extra three, four, five yards and engages contact, which creates quick ball, go-forward ball for the backs for the forwards that are carrying again. He’s someone who, if he can keep building on the early form he’s shown this season, there’s no reason why he can’t put his hand up for Lions selection.
"There’s obviously a couple of forwards in the Irish pack that I think [could be Lions]. In the front row, I thought (Andrew) Porter was very good again. He went the full stretch at 80, which shows how fit he is. Cian Healy would be right there again, without doubt. But it is tough off a game like that, where England had physical dominance for large parts of it, to figure out how Ireland can make up that gap."
Returning to Doris again, later in the show, Madigan stated that it has reached the stage where the Leinster man needs to start, and the rest of the Ireland back row can be built around him.
There was a lot more besides on the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode, including:
- Big team selections calls ahead of the Georgia game
- Johnny Sexton's class jersey-gifting gesture to a Welsh debutant
- Leinster & Ireland centre Sene Naoupu joins for a great interview
- A round-up of all the latest rugby news and results
WATCH THAT EPISODE HERE:
LISTEN TO HOUSE OF RUGBY IRELAND: https://playpodca.st/house-of-rugby-ie
Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts, and has already featured interviews with Brian O'Driscoll, Nigel Owens, Sean Cronin, Shane Williams, Mike Brown, CJ Stander, Ugo Monye, Sene Naoupu and more.