Why Darren Sweetnam has shown all the attributes to be a perfect Joe Schmidt winger
You could forgive Darren Sweetnam for being disappointed on Thursday when Joe Schmidt announced his 23-man squad to face Canada for Saturday's clash at the Aviva.
Sweetnam, along with his provincial colleagues Dave Kilcoyne and Jack O'Donoghue, were called up to the Ireland squad in the immediate aftermath of Ireland's historic 40-29 victory over the All Blacks in Soldier Field due to a sustained period of excellent form from the Munster trio.
However, Sweetnam's stay in Carton House was only brief, as he was deemed surplus to requirements for the Test against Mark Anscombe's 'Canucks'.
For any disappointment that the former Cork senior hurler may have felt, he clearly didn't let it affect his game as he put in another excellent performance on Friday night against a formidable Maori All Blacks side who had scored 54 points against the USA Eagles a week previously.
This performance was epitomised by an excellent try scoring effort which displays the skills that the Cork man possesses. Not only does he show blistering pace to beat James Lowe in a footrace to the try line but as Liam Toland describes in the below clip, Sweetnam uses all of his GAA background to put the perfect amount of power in two grubber kicks which puts him in an ideal position to dot down for Munster's third try of the game.
Munster 17-14 Maori AB! What a sensational try from Darren Sweetnam! #HistoryInTheMaking #MUNvMAB https://t.co/CJrMXBmOWk
— eir Sport (@eirSport) November 11, 2016
Joe Schmidt, however, likes his wingers to display more than just attacking prowess. Physicality, intelligence in defence and sheer determination are all pre-requisites if someone wants to occupy the 11 or 14 shirts.
These attributes are also present in Sweetnam's game, as we outlined last month.
During the 69th minute of Munster's emotional Champions Cup tie with the Glasgow Warriors, Sweetnam sprints across the pitch to deny the Glasgow player a certain try in the corner.
Sweetnam's physicality and determination are clearly on display here. Initially, the situation looks like a lost cause but he gets across in time thanks to his excellent pace.
Subsequently, Sweetnam shows excellent power and strength to make the tackle while in receipt of a hefty hand off from the Glasgow flyer.
Finally, he has the awareness and intelligence to sense the offload which leads him to tackling another Glasgow player into touch, preventing a definite try in the process.
All of this occurred as Munster were down to thirteen men, music to Joe Schmidt's ears.
So it would seem that Sweetnam has all the attributes, albeit raw as they may be, to become an international winger in the eyes of Joe Schmidt.
If the 23-year-old continues to show this level of form then it wont be long before we see him display his talent in a green shirt.