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Dropping Conor Murray for John Cooney could benefit both players in the long run, according to former Leinster player, Andy Dunne.

Cooney has been in incredible form in the last few months, leading Ulster to numerous big wins in what has been a great season so far for the northern province.

Murray, while performing well enough, isn’t at his best and has struggled to find form since recovering from a neck injury last year.

Speaking on Wednesday Night Rugby, Dunne felt that Andy Farrell had no choice but to pick Cooney as Ireland's starting scrum-half.

“[Murray’s] box-kicking has come back to form and his passing has been sharp but the biggest mistake we made in the last 10 months was not picking people on form.

“Just keep doing what we’re doing. Keep playing the crap way we were playing. It didn’t work. Change is good, albeit hard at times to adapt to. Change is good - change in any personnel,” Dunne said.

The former Connacht fly-half pointed to former Dublin football manager Jim Gavin’s decision as the perfect example of why you should sometimes drop incumbent players.

“One of the things that struck me - and I’m going into a complete tangent - was a couple of years ago watching Jim Gavin drop Mick Fitzsimons for an All-Ireland final for Eoin Murchan, who has barely played all season.

“What happened the following year was Mick Fitzsimons was probably the best player in the championship because he wanted to make sure he stayed and won a medal.

“Murchan was equally as good and this year Murchan goes and gets a wonder goal in the final. The only thing that happened there was that the selection surprised people.

“The guy who wasn’t the incumbent got a boost and the guy who was the incumbent got a kick up the arse. It’s not rocket science sometimes - it’s people management,” Dunne commented.

While Dunne wasn’t suggesting that Cooney should be kept on as Ireland’s starting scrum-half if things go sour, he couldn’t see why he shouldn’t be given a chance.

“I’ll feel sorry for John Cooney if he doesn’t get picked. What more can a guy do to get picked against a guy who is the incumbent who’s not been in great form.

“Pick the guy who’s in form and give him a shot. You don’t have to pick him for the whole Six Nations but see where we go,” Dunne said.

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Andy Dunne Andy Farrell Conor Murray Ireland John Cooney

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