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‘Ireland don’t seem to have been impressed with what he has offered’


CALLS for Gavin Coombes to get more opportunities with Ireland have been loud for the past two seasons but now Munster’s number eight finds himself outside the national team entirely.

The 24-year-old was released from Andy Farrell’s squad this week ahead of the game against Fiji on Saturday and will start in eighth place for his province against South Africa A in Cork tomorrow night.

It’s a development that was discussed on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Supplement a podcast accessible to The42 members every Monday and Wednesdayby Murray Kinsella and former Irish performance analyst Eoin Toolan.

Coombes had a chance for Ireland A last Friday night but it was a tough outing for him and the Irish team as they were on the wrong end of the beatings of an excellent All Blacks XV side.

With Leinster full-backs Max Deegan and Scott Penny promoted to the main Ireland team this week, Coombes will now have to work his way back into the mix playing for Munster.

And although the two-time Munster man had to deal with the disappointment of being sent off, it’s obviously good news for the Leinster duo, as today’s pod highlights.

Toolane: “It’s a hotly contested area. We always talk about the depth of these positions. I think Deegan did very well on the Emerging Ireland tour, played a leadership role there, and he talked about getting involved less on the edge and more in midfield, more back-to-back efforts. This has probably been an indication of his progress this season. It’s an opportunity for him.

“I like the look of Scott Penny, he’s a really abrasive character and he gets his chance too. It underlines the competitiveness of the team. I can’t comment on Coombes’ performance last week, but he generally has been a good player for Munster and on the New Zealand tour this summer I think he improved in those games as well.

Kinsella“Game A didn’t go well for Coombes and I think he would probably admit that himself. He was one of many players who didn’t play at the level they are capable of. There were some shocking moments for him. There was a takeout from the base of a scrum in the 22 Kiwis where he gets roughed up by Luke Jacobson and I know Jacobson is a strong player but that’s a position where you need your number eight to at least less get parity.

“Otherwise, the game slightly overshot him. But I think it would be hard to judge the players on one match and clearly Ireland didn’t.

“There are several others who have played in that game and will play this weekend against Fiji, but with Gavin Coombes they don’t seem to have been really impressed with what he offered when he was in the Ireland camp.

Max Deegan is now part of the main Ireland team.

Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

“That’s a big part of it, what we don’t see behind the scenes – how they train, how they prepare, how they are in meetings, being on time for everything. All those little things are a factor.

“I hope there is no cancellation from Coombes and I will be shocked if he does not go and have a massive game now against South Africa A for Munster. This game will suit him perfectly, especially with that motivation ringing in his ears, I guess.

“But I’m sure he’s taken pieces where he thinks he needs to be better. You look at Caelan Doris, who is now the normalizer. They’re the same age and look at how advanced Caelan Doris is, how he completed his game, how he performs in the biggest games and takes every chance he gets, these are sometimes the harsh realities of rugby.

“I don’t think the Irish staff will write him off or anything like that, but the Ireland A game definitely didn’t go well for him.”

Toolan“The other way of looking at it is that Jack Conan is potentially going to have eight-man game time this week with Caelan Doris potentially on the bench.

“Is Coombes better off playing 80 minutes against the South Africans in what is going to be quite an emotional affair at Páirc Uí Chaoimh? There are a lot of things that come into play and potentially that’s more the factor. They would like to see Coombes get the 80 minutes and maybe Max Deegan is brought in to be a bit of cannon fodder in training.

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“There’s a lot that goes into the selection and maybe it’s not just a reflection on his last game.”

Kinsella“I think he would prefer to be in an Ireland shirt, though. This is where you want to be. He talked about his ambitions at this level.

“So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well for him in the Munster game. Like I said I’d be shocked if he wasn’t even potentially man of the match there, you can see him rumble for a few scores.


Elsewhere on the pod, the guys discussed Jack Crowley’s rise to his debut this weekend against Fiji, as well as how the Wallabies are preparing for their visit to Dublin in two weekends.

To get access to The42 Rugby Weekly Extra, which is released every Monday with Gavan Casey, Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella, and every Wednesday with Eoin Toolan, become a member of The42 at members.the42.ie.

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