Shane Jennings and David Wallace pick Ireland's best backrow
Former Ireland flankers David Wallace and Shane Jennings have both picked their preferred back-rows for Ireland's Six Nations campaign next month.
The back-row is arguably the area where Ireland have the most depth with Sean O'Brien, CJ Stander, Peter O'Mahony, Dan Leavy, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan, Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy all pushing for places.
O'Mahony, Stander and O'Brien have generally served as head coach Joe Schmidt's first-choice trio and for two-time British & Irish Lion Wallace it remains Ireland's strongest grouping.
Wallace: It's a very difficult choice but you look at Tadhg Beirne and go he has to have a place somewhere in the team. I think he's the form second-row in the country at the moment. I don't think you can look past him. I'd prefer to see him in the second-row than the back-row because we have so much depth there already.
Peter O'Mahony is in the form of his life, he has to be in the team, CJ Stander is playing exceptionally well as well and they're all feeding off that energy.
I look at CJ's games lately and they're all pushing each other. There's so much talent in the country that they have to play their best game each time they put on their provincial jersey. I think CJ has to be there and then look for me Sean O'Brien still has to be in the team when he's fully fit. I think the problem is getting him game time and getting him fit.
Josh van der Flier for me is probably there and Dan Leavy has been excellent but he's not a seven as such, he does a lot of good things, but Josh plays a little bit looser. He's able to get around the park and has a really high workrate, not that Dan doesn't, he provides more of the attritional stuff but he's probably more of a six than a seven.
For me Seanie is still the guy when he's fit. If not I'd have Josh and then Dan.
It's a pretty settled team but the backrow always has options. It's a nice luxury to have with Dan and Josh and obviously CJ and Peter have been pretty stable and settled in that position.
Jack Conan and Jordi Murphy have been there or thereabouts. Rhys Ruddock has been playing very well for Leinster but it seems from the games that six and eight are settled with Pete and CJ but the seven is Dan or Josh potentially depending on injury and form.