IRELAND remain at the top of the Rugby World Rankings following victories over South Africa, Fiji, and Australia in the Autumn Internationals. It has been a massively successful year for the Irish side who will go into the 2023 Six Nations full of confidence as a result.
With all that in mind, now seems an opportune time to look at how Munster’s Irish contingent fared and where they are in the pecking order after the Autumn Series. Ireland ‘A’ also played a game against New Zealand ‘A’ and Munster’s representatives in that game are also included.
Tadhg Beirne – Another superb Autumn for Beirne. He has catapulted himself to being one of the first names on the Irish team sheet and formed an awesome second row partnership with James Ryan. His international season culminated by being named in the World XV.
Peter O’Mahony – The Munster captain has had a renaissance in the last year and has moved from impact sub to a starting berth once more. A constant menace for the opposition lineout, a safe pair of hands for Ireland’s lineout and a general on and off the field. Like a good wine, getting better with age.
Conor Murray – A mixed bag for Murray. Winning his 100th cap by starting the game against South Africa and playing well until he was forced off with a groin injury in the first half. That was the end of his Autumn and is likely to be out of action until the new year.
Joey Carbery – Same for Carbery. He was always going to get his chance against Fiji but a disgraceful tackle ended his game as he left the field with a head injury. Ireland were off colour in that game but much of the malaise was up front. In saying that, Carbery has neither enhanced his Irish status nor dropped down the pecking order.
Craig Casey – Very much part of the Irish Autumn mix with appearances against New Zealand ‘A’, Fiji, and Australia. Arguably his biggest impact came in the last game with a bullet pass for Bundee Aki’s try. Casey is a livewire and is the best bet to push the incumbents.
Jack Crowley – Started the Autumn as sub for the ‘A’ side and ended it starting against Australia. Meteoric rise for the Cork Con youngster. His stock has risen immeasurably but his biggest challenge remains in getting more game time for Munster. Did well against Australia and is a bolter for the World Cup.
Jeremy Loughman – Like Crowley, won his first cap this Autumn. Looks to be third choice behind Andrew Porter and Cian Healy right now and has certainly pushed ahead in the last six months. Will need to stay injury free and in form to be in the Six Nations reckoning.
Calvin Nash – Started the game v New Zealand ‘A’ and will be happy with the progress he has made this Autumn. The Emerging Ireland trip to South Africa was a breakthrough for him and being in Irish camp for the Australia game would have been a major learning curve. Needs to transfer this to Munster.
Gavin Coombes – Didn’t happen for Coombes for whatever reason this Autumn. Played the New Zealand game and that was that. The performance against South Africa ‘A’ was excellent and more of that will be needed to get back into the Ireland reckoning.
Dave Kilcoyne – Still not back to his best after summer neck surgery and a shoulder problem picked up against New Zealand didn’t help. Should soon be back for Munster but needs game time to get back to speed.
Diarmuid Barron & Shane Daly – Both came off the bench against New Zealand ‘A’ but that was it with Ireland. However, both played big parts in Munster’s historic win over South Africa ‘A’ at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.