HomeSportNo surprises as Farrell makes right calls - Henry

No surprises as Farrell makes right calls – Henry


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Cian Healy was forced off in the first half of Ireland’s unconvincing win over SamoaFormer Ireland back row Chris Henry says Andy Farrell has made the right decisions after naming his 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.While Stuart McCloskey was included, Henry said he could understand why Ulster team-mates Tom Stewart and Jacob Stockdale missed out.”There’s no real surprises,” Henry, who won 20 Ireland caps, said.”It is an incredibly exciting squad. With my Ulster hat on, Jacob has done well but I think taking Jimmy, who is a great utility player and can cover across the back three, makes sense.”Tom is unbelievably talented for being so young, but I think it is the right decision to name the more experienced Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher despite their injury concerns.” Henry added that prop Healy, who was winning his 125th cap against Samoa, is a “huge loss” and he will be gutted after missing out through injury on the eve of the squad selection.”I don’t think there is anything you can say to him to make him feel better,” said former Ulster stalwart Henry, who played alongside Healy with Ireland.”It’s just gut-wrenching that it happened to him and it shows the ruthlessness of the game. He’s had an unbelievable career up to this point and I guess that’s all he can do, see the positives.”It’s a huge blow for Andy Farrell. You talk about the depth chart but he is a huge, huge loss. “He has come back from so many huge injuries. It is a big disappointment but he’s a mentally tough guy and he’s been through setbacks before. He’ll have plenty of support around him.”Andy Farrell’s side face Romania in their Pool B opener on 9 September before games against Tonga, South Africa and Scotland. If they progress, Ireland will likely face hosts France or New Zealand in the quarter-finals.”I see us getting to a quarter-final. With Cian Healy’s injury and question marks over the hooker situation, we saw what a difference Rob Herring made when he came off the bench. “We have such a good depth chart, but is it going to be enough?”There won’t be any panic but it wasn’t the ideal game against Samoa. South Africa putting in that performance against the All Blacks caused a bit of a shock around the world. “It’s going to be a relentless tournament. If and when we get to the quarters, facing the All Blacks or France, if we can keep our key guys fit we are a different team and we could perhaps do something special.”There are four or five teams who will fancy their chances this year, that’s the beauty of the World Cup. Because it is so competitive there will be some big teams heading home early.” Waiting for call ‘torture’With the joy and heartache that comes with a squad selection, Henry felt both emotions throughout his Ireland career and says waiting to hear if you have made the squad is “torture”.The 38-year-old was on the standby list for the 2011 tournament in New Zealand but made Joe Schmidt’s squad for the following tournament in England in 2015.”It’s one of the worst things in your year, especially when you are on the fringe,” Henry said on waiting to find out if he had made the squad.”You’re waiting by your phone all day, waiting for an email or phone call. “I don’t think it was handled this way this time around but I remember in 2015 we still weren’t given notice whether we were going or not until about 10pm the night before. “We were supposed to be in Dublin the next morning. So it was ruthless. Everyone had their bags packed and then the guys got the bad news.”Chris Henry played for Ireland in the 2015 World CupHenry adds that times have changed and the approach of telling players is better than what it was than when he was playing. “There is more understanding of how much toll and stress and pressure there is, and how much it puts on players and the team. “From the outside, it looks like they handle that situation much better and they include the families a lot more too. “That is really important because everyone is going away and you’re a long time away. That man management off the pitch seems to be done a lot better. “It was a nerve-wracking time with so much at stake and you put in so much time and effort to get yourself in the best position. If it’s bad news then it is heartbreaking.”

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