Did Joe Schmidt miss a trick by omitting Connacht's back-three from the summer tour?

Rob Murphy feels the tour was a perfect chance to introduce some Connacht players into the set-up

connacht, adeolukun, healy, o'halloran, rugby, ireland, south africa

Niyi Adeolokun, Tiernan O’Halloran and Matt Healy Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Five Connacht players are South Africa-bound with the Ireland squad this summer, as the team play the Springboks in a three-test series.

That number looks set to increase ahead of the Autumn internationals and Six Nations, according to a local journalist who has followed the team through good times and bad. Rob Murphy, is a commentator with Galway Bay FM and on Connacht's Craggy Island Podcast

He told Oisin Langan on Newstalk's Rewind Podcast that he expects the representation will increase, and Joe Schmidt has missed a trick not bringing more Connacht players on the summer tour.

"You can go over to South Africa with inexperienced players, if they have the abilty and talent. Connacht took to the field in a Pro12 Final with not one of their players having that kind experience of such a crowd and such an atmosphere."

Matt Healy was the top try-scorer in last season's Pro12. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

"If you go down to South Africa and you have a back three of Adeolokun, Healy and O'Halloran, everyone will go; 'What! This is madness. You cant just throw the Connacht back-three out there.' I think people might be very surprised. You might see real talent and real spark."

"No one is banging the drum, saying that this is a disgrace that Joe Schmidt didn't pick them. If the November internationals come around and if Connacht are still around the five or six marks in the Irish squad... That's when people will  be asking; 'Why has Joe Schmidt not taken some time to look at these players?'"

Murphy also added that the Connacht players don't feel they are labelled by the lack of international honours for players in the team. "Ireland is a bonus", for players like Healy, if they continue to impress at international level.

The departing Rob Henshaw and scrum-half Kieran Marmion are the only backs in the squad. That number should surely increase, despite Henshaw's move for the Autumn internationals.

Listen to the full interview on the podcast player: