THE calls for Gavin Coombes’ inclusion in the Ireland team are growing louder and louder.
The Skibbereen man has been in exceptional form for Munster this season and he scored his eighth try of the campaign last weekend when they beat Edinburgh away in the PRO14.
Recently, Coombes was training with the Ireland senior squad for the first time before being released back to Munster – but two ex-Ireland internationals feel the time is right for the six-foot six-inch tall Betsboro beast to be unleased at international level.
Ireland are coming off the back of two defeats in their opening Six Nations games and many pundits feel that head coach Andy Farrell should have given youth its chance for this weekend’s tussle with Italy.
Former Ireland international Stephen Ferris, in last Saturday’s Irish Independent, spoke highly of Skibbereen RFC’s man of the moment Coombes.
‘Get somebody like Gavin Coombes, who has been exceptional for Munster, in. He adds a bit more. I think he's a better athlete than Rhys Ruddock, than CJ Stander so get him in there and see what he can do,’ Ferris said, while another former Ireland player, Bernard Jackman, also feels Coombes should have been given his chance in this Saturday’s Six Nations game.
‘I think there was an opportunity to bring in some form players from the provinces,’ Jackman pointed out.
‘The uncapped (Munster back row) Gavin Coombes, every time he plays, he just makes a statement and with Peter O'Mahony being suspended, I think that was an opportunity lost.
‘He looks like somebody who could feature for Ireland, particularly with (Caelan) Doris being out. He has that explosivity that maybe we’re lacking a little bit.’