Jack Conan's perfect response to claims CJ Stander should not be playing for Ireland
Jack Conan is back to the form that won him an Ireland debut back in 2015. He is pushing for inclusion in the upcoming Six Nations squad but there is some serious competition, most notably CJ Stander.
Conan can cover every spot in the back-row but starred at blindside flanker for Leinster last night. He ran in his first hat-trick since his days as a lock with St Gerard's School and teed up another for Adam Byrne.
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With Jordi Murphy injured and Iain Henderson set for second row duties, Conan's return to full fitness and good form will surely put him in the Six Nations selection picture.
He may make the squad but getting by Stander will be nigh on impossible. Peter O'Mahony could not do it last November so Conan has his work cut out for him.
It is a situation that was brought up again, earlier this week, when journalist Paul Kimmage told The Last Word he does not want Stander, who qualified to play for Ireland under the three-year residency rule, in the green jersey.
"I totally agree that he has fronted up for Munster and his buying into the whole Ireland thing," said Kimmage, "but he is still depriving someone who is born and raised here of playing in that position and I think that should be the bottom line."
Conan was asked if he took issue with Stander blocking his path to the Irish team, last night, and his response was on the money.
Following Leinster's 57-3 thrasing of Montpellier, Conan was asked by SportsJOE if he had any problems with project players taking Irish spots. He replied:
"No, absolutely not. Those lads come in and have been here for the right amount of time to get Irish qualified.
"They are bringing a different standard. If they are bringing it and upping that standard then everyone else has to react to that and be better. Than, then, increases the talent around them and makes everyone up their level.
"I won't be looking too far ahead [to Irish squad selections], other than next week."
Conan made his Ireland debut against Scotland in August 2015. He may not oust Stander from the Ireland team that faces Scotland in Murrayfield next month but, with this attitude and this form, his next appearance in the Ireland jersey should not be too far away.