Munster and Ireland legend Alan Quinlan thinks Iain Henderson will get in as James Ryan's second-row partner ahead of Tadhg Beirne for Ireland's November International against New Zealand.
Andy Farrell's side welcome the All Blacks to the Aviva Stadium on November 13th. It will be the first time the two sides have met since the Kiwis thrashed Ireland 46-14 in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
New Zealand pummelled an understrength Wales team on Saturday, winning 54-16 at the Principality Stadium.
Quinlan, who also hosts The Red 78 podcast alongside Niamh Briggs, believes that James Ryan is a nailed-on starter for the feature match of the November series.
Joining Eoin Sheahan and Johnny Ward on Monday's OTB AM, Quinlan explained that Henderson has a slight edge on Beirne at the moment.
"I think it's 3 into 2 - it's [Iain] Henderson, James Ryan, and Tadhg Beirne," Quinlan said.
"You're gonna be coming up against Retallick and Whitelock who, when they're on song, the best second rows in the world. Henderson and Ryan performed so well against them in previous years."
"So it's either Henderson, Ryan or Beirne, but Henderson hasn't played much rugby - he was only back last week - but for me, Henderson and Ryan are the starters for next week."
"It seems unfair that you have someone like Tadhg Beirne, who was so good in South Africa for the Lions, who wouldn't start," Quinlan added.
"I just think with Henderson - he brings that ball-carrying ability. When he's physical and aggressive, he's so effective."
Quinlan: "I'd love to have a big bruiser in the second row"
Quinlan also ran the rule over other prospective options for lock for the New Zealand game.
"When you look at the other second rows, you've got Ultan Dillane and Ryan Baird as backup, but I think it's Henderson and Ryan as the starters for me."
"I'd love to have a big bruiser that you could throw in the second row, but there's gonna be a pace in that New Zealand game that Ireland can cope with, and Ryan and Henderson are good footballers."
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