Sexton succession and how Irish rugby’s 10 stocks shape up…

The transition in the out-half position for Ireland marks a significant shift, bidding farewell to the seasoned Johnny Sexton and his 119 caps. His impact, instrumental in securing two Grand Slam victories and earning the World Rugby Player of the Year award in 2018, leaves big shoes to fill.

The upcoming era promises intrigue and change, with young talents vying for the coveted number 10 jersey. Jack Crowley is currently the frontrunner, likely to don the jersey in the 2024 Six Nations opener against France. His main rival, Ross Byrne, faces a setback due to a recent bicep injury sustained during the World Cup.

As Byrne grapples with his injury, Crowley sees a clear path to solidify his standing as Sexton’s successor under Andy Farrell’s leadership. The competition for the role may extend over time, considering other experienced out-halves in Irish rugby, including Harry Byrne, Ciarán Frawley, Billy Burns, and the resilient Joey Carbery, who has faced setbacks but remains in contention.

Emerging talents like Sam Prendergast add depth to the position, providing optimism for the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) about the future. Notably, Crowley’s ascent was not immediate, starting as Munster’s second-choice out-half behind Carbery. However, circumstances changed, and he now commands the top spot.

Crowley’s maturity and skill have earned him recognition, not only at the provincial level but also as the backup to Sexton in the recent World Cup. With Carbery sidelined due to injury and Ben Healy moving on to Scotland, Crowley has seized the opportunity to establish himself as Munster’s primary out-half.

The 23-year-old’s ambition extends to claiming the starting number 10 position for the Six Nations, a testament to his rapid rise in the ranks. Meanwhile, Carbery, once a pivotal part of the Farrell set-up, faces a challenging period following his latest injury. His absence opens doors for academy out-half Tony Butler, who has showcased promise in recent appearances.

Beyond Butler, Munster boasts young talents like Dylan Hicks, a promising 18-year-old academy out-half considered one for the future. Rory Scannell and Antoine Frisch provide additional depth, with Scannell capable of covering the out-half position when needed.

In summary, the landscape of Irish rugby’s out-half position is undergoing a transformative phase, marked by the departure of Sexton and the emergence of promising talents like Crowley, Butler, and Hicks. The Six Nations and future seasons will likely witness a compelling competition for the coveted number 10 jersey.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.