Live

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:00 PM-10:00 PM

LIVE: Off The Ball
Advertisement
Rugby

"It's Tadhg Beirne who has gotten into Ireland squad ahead of Devin Toner"

Amid the furore surrounding Joe Schmidt's decision to exclude Devin Toner from his World Cup plan...



Rugby

"It's Tadhg Beirne who has gotten into Ireland squad ahead of Devin Toner"

Amid the furore surrounding Joe Schmidt's decision to exclude Devin Toner from his World Cup plans, it is inaccurate to suggest that South African-born Jean Kleyn is the sole cause for the Leinster man's absence. 

It has only been a matter of weeks since Munster's Jean Kleyn made his international breakthrough with Ireland's rugby team.

Across two World Cup warm-up games against Italy and England, the 26-year-old gave a sufficient show of himself to earn a place in Joe Schmidt's 31-man squad for the tournament.

A beneficiary of rugby's residency rule, the lock's rapid ascent into Irish contention has ultimately resulted in Leinster's Devin Toner, a player with almost 10-years of international experience to his name, missing the cut.

However, as Cian Tracey outlined on Tuesday's OTB AM, those wishing to align Kleyn's involvement with Toner's undeniably brutal exclusion do so without acknowledging the logic upholding Schmidt's decision.

"Toner and Kleyn are not the same kind of lock," he noted on this morning's show.

"When you think of the four locks that are in the squad now, the starting pair will be James Ryan and Iain Henderson."

Ryan, who operates as Schmidt's chosen tight-head lock, will now have Kleyn serving as his understudy in this role. Meanwhile, Henderson, who is expected to start in the role that Toner would ideally have played, will be backed-up by Tadhg Beirne.

"Whether Jean Kleyn features is a different story," admitted Tracey, "but it is actually Beirne who's got in there [ahead of Toner].

"Before Ryan burst onto the scene, Devin Toner was playing tight-head lock and it was fine.

"But I feel that Joe Schmidt is looking at this decision with the Springboks in mind and he wants [the option of greater] power in the scrum."

Although Jean Kleyn has unquestionably benefited from Schmidt's willingness to dispense with Toner, it was not the straight swap that it may initially have appeared to be.

"They weren't going head-to-head for a place," suggested Tracey.

"That being said, I didn't think it would be Toner who'd be dropped."

In the Irish-born Tadhg Beirne, Schmidt's was afforded the possibility of selecting a player hitherto unavailable before completing his Munster move in 2018.

Something of a World Cup bolter in his own right, this series of timely recruitments for Ireland have come at the greatest cost for Devin Toner.

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Cian Tracey Devin Toner Irish Rugby Football Union Jamie Heaslip Joe Schmidt Rugby World Cup