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Tadhg Furlong return would be 'massive boost' | Alan Quinlan

Tadhg Furlong's return to rugby is ever closer, after he was named in the Irish squad for the upc...

Tadhg Furlong return would be...

Tadhg Furlong return would be 'massive boost' | Alan Quinlan

Tadhg Furlong's return to rugby is ever closer, after he was named in the Irish squad for the upcoming Six Nations campaign.

A combination of rugby's lockdown, followed by consecutive injuries to his back and calf, have meant the Leinster tighthead's last game of competitive rugby was the defeat to England at Twickenham last February.

However, Leinster have hinted he could make his return in this weekend's PRO 14 meeting with the Scarlets, and that confidence is clearly shared by Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, who picked him in his squad of 36.

As usual on a Monday, Alan Quinlan joined Ger and Nathan on OTB AM, and says Furlong's return during the Six Nations will be a huge boost for the Irish scrum and lineout, which struggled at times during the latter stages of 2020.

However, Quinlan says the game against Wales on February 7th will almost certainly be coming too soon for him to start.

"You wouldn't be starting him against Wales even if he plays for Leinster against the Scarlets.

"You'd definitely have him on the bench. It depends how much workload he's had in the last two weeks. He trained fully last week with Leinster, so if he has no setbacks. The training workload would be tailored for him in the next few weeks.

"I'd be getting him back into the group as quick as possible, you can imagine with 15 minutes to go bringing Tadhg Furlong off the bench, would be a massive boost for any side.

"He's not probably physically fit to play 80 minutes of international rugby, but's I'd have him involves as soon as possible if he's given the clearance," Quinny said.

Despite being named in the squad, question marks remain over Furlong's availability for both club and country in the early stages of the tournament. As teams begin to set up their "bubbles" for the tournament, it remains to be seen if Furlong and James Lowe would be able to plug straight into the Irish camp, should they be involved for Leinster this weekend.

Quinlan says it's in the IRFU's best interests to find a system that works.

"I'm sure they'll try and work out the logistics and get the players tested if they're involved with Leinster. It's a complicated issue, but they've got to find a way to get both of those guys, because James Lowe will certainly be a player who will be in that squad as well. He gives you a different option as well.

"In an ideal world, Andy Farrell would love to see those players play against Scarlets this week," he said.

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Alan Quinlan Andy Farrell James Lowe Leinster Rugby Six Nations Tadhg Furlong