Andy Farrell has named his starting XV for Ireland's Six Nations opener against Scotland and it's fair to say one omission is causing a bit of a stir.
The tried and tested Conor Murray has gotten the nod at scrum-half ahead of Ulster's in-form John Cooney while one uncapped player starts, namely Caelan Doris at number eight.
It's the omission of Cooney though that has gotten most people talking, with many believing his blistering form for the Ulstermen this season should have ensured he starts over 78-cap Murray.
Here's the Ireland team to play Scotland in the opening round of the #GuinnessSixNations in @AVIVAStadium on Saturday.
Two uncapped players: Caelan Doris & Ronan Kelleher.#ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/Ar7nLV7Krs
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 28, 2020
Many feel that now is the perfect time for 29-year-old Cooney to be given an opportunity, however, Farrell has decided to put his faith in Murray for Saturday's big showdown with the Scots. Some are accusing Farrell of choosing reputation over form when it comes to picking the Ireland starting XV and here's how people have been reacting online to the news...
Surprised John Cooney hasn’t been given the nod but understand with Doris winning his first cap at 8 and Farrell’s first game as boss the experience at 9&10 is vital. Strong team! https://t.co/alDvlDYhdQ
— Tommy Bowe (@TommyBowe) January 28, 2020
Picking Cooney would have been rewarding form not reputation, and at home against Scotland, missing their playmaker, was the best time ever to do it. He's never getting picked ahead of Murray now.
— Demented Mole (@dementedmole) January 28, 2020
John Cooney @UlsterRugby could not possibly have done any more to justify starting at scrum-half for @IrishRugby against @Scotlandteam. Instead new head coach Andy Farrell sticks with Conor Murray @Munsterrugby. A case of reputation over form.
— Peter Jackson (@JackoRugby) January 28, 2020
Absolutely absurd that Conor Murray gets in ahead of John Cooney, who’s arguably Ireland’s most in-form player https://t.co/y6jrwBkHUI
— Liam Kiernan (@liamkiernan59) January 28, 2020
Not a bad team. But I'm gutted for Cooney not to be starting, Murray is Ireland's greatest ever scrum half & at his best is world class, but he's nowhere near Cooney's level of form. Also baffled by Addison's ommison from the 23. POM seriously lucky to make the 23 aswell. https://t.co/jlNfu5qLBb
— Ruairi O'Cathain (@RoryOKane_Raz_) January 28, 2020
As a Munster fan, what in god's name does John Cooney need to do to get that 9 jersey from Murray.
The man is in the form of his life and Murray hasn't been for some time.
Have to feel for the chap.#StrongerTogether #ShoulderToShoulder#IrevSco
— Seán Hanley (@Seanhanley94Me) January 28, 2020
The call has been made, it’s Conor Murray over John Cooney for Andy Farrell’s first ever @IrishRugby side. Big decision.
Rob Herring gets the first shot at succeeding Rory Best, Henderson and Stockdale also start.
No Will Addison, even on the bench, is very surprising. https://t.co/nm6CGKJ64c
— Adam McKendry (@admckendry) January 28, 2020
Whatever happens, the whole of Ireland will be behind Murray and the rest of the Ireland starting XV when they take to the Aviva Stadium at 4.45pm on Saturday.
See here full a full list of Ireland's 2020 Six Nations fixtures.