While in South Africa coach Allister Coetzee has been hailed for selecting his Springboks squad on form, the same can’t be said about his Ireland counterpart Joe Schmidt.
With the Irish visiting South Africa soon for a three-match Test series, Schmidt has been criticised for his selections – especially in his back three, where he opted to ignore Pro12 champs Connacht’s Niyi Adeolokun, Matt Healy and Tiernan O’Halloran.
Defending his decisions, Schmidt told the Irish Independent: “I don’t think the word ‘reputation’ is applicable. Performance is.
“A number of those guys [selected] have performed well at Test level.
“It’s one of the tough decisions to make, with the likes of Keith Earls there, Andrew Trimble had a great season…”
As fate would have it though, Leinster’s Luke Fitzgerald was ruled out of the tour after suffering a knee injury in the final against Connacht, with Healy being the favourite to take his position in the squad.
Of Healy, Schmidt says: “One of the advantages with Matt is that he’s a left-footed left winger and like-for-like with Luke. He’s certainly a guy who’s in contention.”