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'There's something missing with Gavin Coombes' | Brian O'Driscoll on the Ireland squad

Gavin Coombes might not be showing the Ireland management enough at training to be selected ahead of the likes of Jack Conan, according to Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll.



Gavin Coombes might not be showing the Ireland management enough at training to be selected ahead of the likes of Jack Conan, according to Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll.

Andy Farrell named his extended squad for the Six Nations this week, the first to not include Johnny Sexton in over 15 years.

While Ireland is the only team in the championship to name a side without a debutant, there were a few talking points to come out of the selection.

Most notably a two Munster loose forwards in John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes being omitted from the squad surprised some pundits.

The Munster duo have been in great form over the last two seasons, sparking a number of calls for Ireland head coach Farrell to include them in his squad.

'There's something missing with Gavin Coombes'

Speaking on Off The Ball, Brian O'Driscoll suggested that there might be something that Gavin Coombes is not doing at training that is keeping him out of consideration by the national coaching ticket.

"There's something missing with Gavin Coombes," O'Driscoll said. "Okay, he hasn't been as good this season as last season, he's been playing in the second row and ay number eight, and filling a void. Maybe that hasn't worked in his favour.

"But, when there's a guy that's shown good quality, playing for Munster, for his province and then hasn't been given the opportunity internationally, for me that usually means there's something missing at training.

"There's something that's not giving the confidence to the coaches to select them over somebody else. If you look at someone like him versus a Jack Conan, Jack has had absolutely massive games, but there's been times where he's been quiet as well.

"Coombes consistently maybe didn't hit those lofty highs that Conan hit, but consistently over the course of the season last year maybe would have edged it."

Ireland need big ball carriers

A number of Irish forwards have put their hands up in big moments, with massive performances in recent years. However, the one area that O'Driscoll believes Ireland need more impact is physical ball carrying. This is what give Jack Conan the edge over the likes of Coombes.

"Conan brings a dimension off of the bench, big ball carrying, is physical," O'Driscoll said. "That's something that maybe we miss throughout the squad.

"We don't have very big ball-carrying second rows. I would say that the ball carrying of Tadhg Furlong has dis-improved 0ver the course of the last few years. Maybe [Andrew] Porter as well.

"I can understand why you need big ball carriers, and maybe Coombes isn't really that guy internationally, and that's why he's not getting the recognition in the end."

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