There's a strong argument that Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton should stay home this summer 1 year ago

There's a strong argument that Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton should stay home this summer

It makes sense...

Ireland take on Australia in a three-test tour down under this summer as the clock ticks down towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton have been mainstays in Ireland's team for the last five years or more and are two key men for Ireland going forward.

The halfback pairing helped Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam and, for Munster and Leinster, were instrumental in their province's Champions Cup victories over Toulon and Saracens.

Both men have stated their readiness to tour with Ireland to Australia this summer but former Munster centre James Downey told The Hard Yards, from 43:00 below, that Schmidt would be better off resting them up.

The Hard Yards

This week: Munster heart, Leinster brilliance, Peter O'Mahony and Isa Nacewa

Listen to The GAA Hour with Colm Parkinson on Apple Podcasts

A weekly show bringing you expert analysis, opinion, and the latest news on all things rugby.Join us for unique insights into the game and exclusive

behind-the-scenes tales from players

Also available on Spotify | TuneIn | Pocket Casts | Overcast | SoundCloud

Incase you don't have time to listen now, here's a quick rundown of what was said on the show. James Downey commented that he'd like to see Sexton and Murray get a break for the tour.

"I'd like to see some fresh 9 and 10s. We rely heavily on Sexton and Murray. I know I've beat the drum heavily on this but I'd like to see Marmion play a good bit more and for Carbery to play a bit more 10. He's not playing enough there for Leinster, purely from an Irish perspective.

"The rest of the young lads are getting enough game-time across the backline but not 9 and 10."

When the point was brought up that Ireland, sans Sexton and Murray, may not win a three-Test series against Australia, Downey did not agree.

He feels Ireland are now good enough, and confident enough, to rest up their star half-backs and still claim a series win Down Under.

"The Aussies aren't great and we have to give the credit, to Ireland, where it us due. We have to change the mind-set. We're the second best team in the world and we have to go over there against an Australian team [placed fifth in the rankings] and expect to beat them.

"They've done nothing really. There's the Cheika factor but we should be better and we should be beating them down there."