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Thursday 14 December 2017

It's hard to fathom Ryan call

JUST one question: Why Donncha O'Callaghan over Donnacha Ryan?

Certainly, this is not a decision made on form.

Munster's Tony McGahan has picked Ryan ahead of O'Callaghan in most of the big Munster matches this season.

If Ireland coach Declan Kidney did not speak with a forked tongue when he said he would "be happy for either of them to start", then why did he not pick the player looking to the future rather than the one who he knows all about?

The simple truth could be that O'Callaghan is a solid, proven tighthead scrummager behind Mike Ross in an area where Wales caused Ireland trouble at the World Cup.

And this is the business of winning, first and foremost.

As expected, Kidney goes with the in-form Keith Earls at outside centre ahead of Fergus McFadden, content to let Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble remain on the wings.

"You look at the matches throughout the season. Keith had a good World Cup. He came back in at 13 (for Munster). He finished well in Heineken Cup rounds five and six. Last Thursday and Friday he was flying," said Kidney.

"You are trying to weigh that up against Fergus, who is in a similar situation. Fergus has adjusted between 13 and wing."

Wales appear to be in a state of uncertainty, given a raft of injury worries and the fact that Gethin Jenkins, Alun Wyn-Jones and Luke Charteris are definitely out.

"If Wales turn up and play as well as they did (at the World Cup), they will be an extremely difficult side to beat," added Kidney. "You don't need to reinvent the wheel. You have to get the basic elements of attack and defence right."

Kidney may not have to re-invent the wheel, but he certainly has to keep it turning.

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