Brian O'Driscoll on how significant Connacht's rise will really be for Ireland

Ireland legend is joined by Connacht trio Craig Ronaldson, Denis Buckley and Tiernan O'Halloran on Off The Ball

Ireland, Connacht, Kieran Marmion, Nathan White, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Robbie Henshaw

Ireland and Connacht's Kieran Marmion, Nathan White, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane and Robbie Henshaw celebrate after this year's Six Nations ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

With Connacht shining over the past 18 months, the contingent of players from the province who figure in the Ireland squad has grown. 

The last Six Nations saw Robbie Henshaw, Kieran Marmion, Ultan Dillane, Nathan White and Finlay Bealham all involved and with Connacht on the up, they could well be joined by other provincial team-mates in future international squads.

Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll and current Connacht trio Craig Ronaldson, Denis Buckley and Tiernan O'Halloran joined Off The Ball at The Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Roadshow in Galway and after talking about Connacht's huge progress this season under Pat Lam's tutelage, they talked about the positive impact that will have for Ireland.

Leinster's Shane Jennings with Craig Ronaldson and Tiernan O'Halloran of Connacht in 2013 ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"From an international point of view, you look at the make-up of Irish teams over the last 10 years or so, when one of the provinces is in the ascendancy, more often than not they have the lions share of internationals," said Brian.

"Of course, you play from a team perspective collectively to do well and to try and push for silverware but the knock on effect of that is that individuals shine. The more you're in the spotlight, the longer you stay there, the harder it is for you to be ignored and I think there's lots of guys that maybe haven't been on the radar before of Joe Schmidt that now are starting to get into the mix. Guys like Tiernan O'Halloran and Matt Healy, Denis before his injury started featuring a lot more in pre-South African squads, so I think it's really important from a team point of view - not just a Connacht point of view - when the collective is going well, the immediate knock on effect is that more internationals will end up playing in the green jersey."