Liam Toland makes a persuasive Six Nations case for Tiernan O'Halloran

Connacht player is an option at full back for Ireland

BY Raf Diallo 20:51 Wednesday 25 January 2017, 20:51 25 Jan 2017

Ireland’s Tiernan O’Halloran ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Liam Toland has praised the performances of Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran as Ireland's 2017 Six Nations campaign approaches.

The 25 year old who can play at full back or on the wing was part of the Connacht side which won last season's Guinness Pro 12.

Ex-Leinster captain Toland is intrigued to see how Ireland's full back pecking order plays out in the lead up and during the tournament, with three international caps under O'Halloran's belt.

"I'd say full back is very, very interesting. I think Tiernan O'Halloran for me has just been pure quality," Toland told Off The Ball.

"He is so comfortable in everything he does, he has huge pace, he glides along with the ball, he's safe in his aerial stuff, his kicking game is good. He really is a quality player. I don't see what he cannot do. His form seems to be really, really good."

Toland expects Joe Schmidt to pick his back three based on the balance of their skillsets.

Andrew Conway ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"You have to get the balance between maturity, caps, form. All that kind of stuff has to go into it and Joe Schmidt has proved to be a master," he said.

"Look at Chicago and the value of the balance he picked there. So that doesn't go without saying. But for me again, Tiernan O'Halloran, in terms of pure best full back over the last few weeks, I'd have to say it's him. And then Simon Zebo has been just sensational any time he's come on for Ireland." 

Toland also picked out Munster's Andrew Conway for praise, describing the versatile back as "the most improved back in Irish rugby".

"He's just been phenomenal in the last few weeks," he added.

"Andrew Conway's work rate has just been sensational and his aerial stuff. It's like as if he's plugged into Joe Schmidt and said 'Listen, what do you want me to do improve?' Because all of these things are Trimble-esque in what he's doing."

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