Andrew Trimble on why Ireland are better off without Conor Murray right now
Conor Murray is Ireland's most important player right now, and with a World Cup less than a year away, his injury has some supporters worried.
The Munster scrum half has really showed his class on the world stage over the past couple of seasons, and the thought of Ireland facing into the World Cup in Japan, minus his services is a daunting prospect.
There is plenty of food for thought surrounding the current Irish side. Lots of positions are up for grabs at present. Conor Murray is the starting scrum half though, that much cannot be disputed.
However, despite the fact his jersey may be nailed on, Ireland still need legitimate back-up for Murray if he was to go down once more before next September.
There are currently three other top-class scrum halves fighting it out for the back-up position. Leinster's Luke McGrath, Connacht's Kieran Marmion and Ulster kicker, John Cooney.
All three have been performing well and can have legitimate claims for the jersey against the All-Blacks in two weeks time.
Andrew Trimble feels that Murray's continued absence throughout this November series is actually a good thing for both Ireland, and Murray.
"First of all the Murray thing, I think Ireland will be better off if Murray doesn't play. Both Ireland and Murray, because he hasn't had a break, he's got a big 12 months ahead of him.
"He's Ireland's... between him and Sexton, probably their most important player and he's the guy they need to have fit with a big 12 months ahead, he needs to be performing well."
"So, him having this break now will be really good for Ireland and good for Munster and good for the World Cup opportunity."
Speaking to Paddy McKenna on episode four of Baz and Andrew's House of Rugby, the former Ulster winger, claimed that Murray's absence presents a great opportunity for Joe Schmidt to finally nail down who his second choice 'nine' is.
"What else will be good for Ireland is an opportunity to find out who will be second choice because, not that there's no point investing in other guys, there is of course because you'll always pick up injuries and it's good to have that depth. It would be nice to have clarity on who to really focus on coming in as second choice.
"At the minute, we got a little bit of exposure there, a little bit of appreciation of how good Luke (McGrath) was at the weekend, he went really well I thought.
"But again, going well against a second string Italy side doesn't really tell us much, it tells us about as much as it does about Jordan Larmour. We learnt he's a good operator.
"The same is definitely true for Luke, he's a very good player, but we didn't really find out much. This weekend, if Marmion or Cooney comes in. The chat is Marmion, that's what everybody seems to be talking about.
"The thing is, if everybody is talking about that, Joe might decide to do something different, but it looks like Marmion is going to get the go ahead there.
"I think if Marmion puts in a like for like performance that Luke put in, then the fact that Marmion puts in a same kind of performance against Argentina trumps Luke's performance against Italy."