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Andy Farrell should drop 'ponderous' CJ Stander | Stuart Barnes on 'drastic' changes for Farrell

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

19:38 13 Jan 2020


Stuart Barnes believes that Andy Farrell should drop CJ Stander as part of an overhaul of Ireland's playing style.

Barnes was speaking on Monday Night Rugby after a weekend of Champions Cup action, and attention turned to Ireland's new setup and how to get the best from emerging players.

"It is not about who is the best, it is about how Ireland want to play," said Barnes of the decisions facing Farrell.

"If Farrell wants to get away from a conservatism that, I think, killed Ireland in a World Cup year, then he has to make one or two drastic changes.

"[Conor] Murray is one of them as John Cooney gives extra pace, but the other is [CJ] Stander.

"Stander was another of the flag-bearers of the last year of Joe Schmidt's management, in that there was very little off-loading and he carried a lot.

"He carried safely, he carried slowly, he carried securely. It was alright against a weak team like Scotland, but against a faster team like Japan - he unravelled. Against New Zealand, it just made Ireland look just so ponderous."

Ireland's new world order?

Barnes believes that change in playing style is beneficial not just to break from the past, but also to help young players like Max Deegan and Caelan Doris.

"Ireland have got to decide what they want to do. Do they want to carry on like Schmidt and play a conservative, keep-ball game?

"Or do they want to try and utilise the talent of men like [Jordan] Larmour on the field and break it open a bit.

"The way [Doris and Deegan] play is far more suited to an Ireland team that accelerate the way they are trying to play - CJ Stander applies the brakes."

Could Stander improve?

As to whether Stander could be coached into a more modern role for Ireland, Barnes was unmoved.

"He is not an amazing athlete for a forward - he is a lump and he is solid, organised and does what he does very well.

"But it is without ambition; he'll make tackles but won't make lasting tackles.

"He's a glue player."

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Andy Farrell CJ Stander Ireland Munster

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