Published: 12:16 | 7/1/20

Ferris backs Cooney for Ireland

Former international flanker Stephen Ferris believes that John Cooney should be Ireland's starting scrum-half for the Six Nations opener against Scotland at the Aviva on February 1st.

The Ulster number nine has been in scintillating form this season which, Ferris believes, new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell will find hard to ignore when naming his side for the Scotland game.

Cooney came out on top in the head-to-head against long-standing Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray notching a try, a penalty and five conversions as Ulster hammered Munster 38-17 at the Kingspan Stadium last weekend.

Speaking to RTE 2FM, former Ulster back-row Ferris backed Cooney for selection.

"Conor hasn't played a lot of rugby," he said.

"He's got so much quality. On Friday night in Belfast his box-kicking was better, he does have other attributes that are good, but at the minute how can you look past the main man John Cooney?

"He really is playing out of his skin. It's not just one out of every three games he's playing well - it's consistent, every single week.

"Reputation might keep Conor in there for a while, but Cooney is certainly going to get more opportunities under Andy Farrell. It wouldn't surprise me if Andy says, 'you know what, I'm going to pick players that are in form'.

"If he does do that, he has to pick John Cooney."

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