Rugby

WATCH: Combined Ireland-England starting 15

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

16:04 18 Feb 2020

Eoin Sheahan has risked the onslaught of all Irish rugby fans by choosing nine English players in his combined Ireland-England starting 15.

The Kerry native presented his combined team on Tuesday’s OTB AM and while his choices are sure to enrage some hardcore fans, overall the side looks fairly balanced.

Sheahan has gone with an all-Irish halfback pairing and an all-English back row in a team that could make the brunt of the Lions team when they take on South Africa in 2021.

There were a number of close calls in the side although Sheahan believes his choice of fly-half may be the most controversial.

“I think [George] Ford would be the omission there that most people would be angry about perhaps. Given the form that he has shown recently, he might deserve to be ahead of Johnny Sexton but I disagree.

“I think class being permanent and all that comes to mind. I think it’s more to do with Sexton and what he has shown. I think he’s starting to show in this year’s Six Nations that he’s back. Back back,” Sheahan said.

“World Player of the Year back?” Ger Gilroy asked.

“Not that back but back enough to make an Ireland-England combined 15,” Sheahan answered.

The selection of only two Irish players in the pack may also raise some eyebrows, especially considering the opening round of this year's Six Nations where England were bullied by France for long periods of the game by a young, inexperienced French side.

However, you don't have to go back far to see the full might of the English pack when they dismantled New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-final and are currently missing their key man in Billy Vunipola.

Find Eoin Sheahan’s combined Ireland-England starting 15 below.

15. Jordan Larmour (Ire)
14. Andrew Conway (Ire)
13. Manu Tuilagi (Eng)
12. Owen Farrell (Eng)
11. Jonny May (Eng)
10. Johnny Sexton (Ire)
9. Conor Murray (Ire)
8. Billy Vunipola (Eng)
7. Sam Underhill (Eng)
6. Tom Curry (Eng)
5. James Ryan (Ire)
4. Maro Itoje (Eng)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ire)
2. Jamie George (Eng)
1. Mako Vunipola (Eng)

Do you agree with his selections?

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