Rugby | 9 months ago
Paul O'Connell gets creative with his Lions team to wedge in another Irishman
Don't tell CJ...

Paul O'Connell must've been suppin' on the wobbly water when he picked this team.

You've got to love this man.

Ahead of this year's Six Nations, O'Connell stuck together a British & Irish Lions team that was heavy on lads from the Emerald Isles. During a spot on BBC Radio 5 Live, O'Connell named an XV that included Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton and Simon Zebo.

Ireland lost to Scotland on the opening weekend but O'Connell was not budging too much. The only player that was left out from that original seven was the injured Johnny Sexton and he threw in Jack McGrath to keep it at seven.

After Ireland flaked Italy 63-10, has gone for six Irishmen. Ken Owens of Wales is in as Best missed the game in Rome with illness.

We say Irishmen as O'Connell has not selected South African born Ireland back-row in any of his XVs. Bizarrely, the former Ireland captain has selected Jamie Heaslip at No.6 in each of his selections.

While the likes of Brian O'Driscoll, Keith Wood and Martin Johnson are all predicting Stander as a squad certainty and a 'strong contender' to start, O'Connell has not included his former Munster teammate in any of his recent team selections.

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O'Connell plumping of No.8 Heaslip over blindside Stander may not be a surprise to anyone that listened to this week's Hard Yards rugby podcast. Both Donncha O'Callaghan and Kevin McLauglin believed Heaslip deserved to be man of the match, ahead of hat-trick scorer Stander.

Episode 37 of The Hard Yards rugby podcast features Sam Warburton, Garry Ringrose and Rugby World's Paul Williams.


While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Irish legends Shay Given and Clinton Morrison on the couch!


Read more about:

Ireland, Lions 2017, Paul O'Connell