Easterby backing uncapped players to fill Ireland's gaps
30 October 2014 10:47am
Simon Easterby joined the Ireland set-up in July
Forwards coach Simon Easterby expects Ireland's fringe players to seize their opportunity in the face of a mounting injury list and cement their place for the 2015 RBS 6 Nations.
Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien are two key cogs who will be missing from next month's autumn internationals while the likes of Gordon D'Arcy, James Cronin, Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe are all fighting knocks.
But in their absence Joe Schmidt could hand a host of uncapped players their debut, including the New Zealand-born Ulster back Jared Payne.
They could all be thrown into the deep end against South Africa on November 8 - and Easterby is eager for the new recruits to show what they're capable of.
"We need to build depth in the squad anyway," Easterby told thescore.ie.
"I think the guys that can't make this series through injury means an opportunity for someone else to come in, put their hand up and stake a claim for the Six Nations and beyond.
"Instead of changing things, I think it's about new players coming in who maybe haven't been in the environment as much before and getting up to speed.
"I think it's really important that they understand we can't look back, we've got to keep moving forward."
While Simon Zebo admits he was disappointed to be left out of Ireland's final game against Scotland, the winger insists he is pleased with his overall contribution to his side's RBS 6 Nations title triumph.
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.