Could or can Donnacha Ryan still play for Ireland?

Can Donnacha Ryan play for Ireland again?

There has been much speculation about this as the Tipperary man is set to join Racing 92 in the Top 14 next season.

The news that the Tipperary man was on the verge of leaving Munster to join the French club where Ronan O’Gara is currently in a coaching role, was a shock to Munster supporters.

As a result of the IRFU’s decision against giving Ryan a central contract, the 33-year-old took the opportunity given to him by the Paris based French Club and who could blame him.

Considering Joe Schmidt’s policy of refusing to select Irish international players who are based abroad, it is unlikely we will see Ryan in the green of Ireland again.

Johnny Sexton proved an exception, but the likes of Ian Madigan who is currently playing for french club Bordeaux Eagles and Marty Moore who plays for English side Wasps did not get a look in for international selection this year.

These are reasons why people are speculating over Donnacha Ryan’s Irish career. Could it all be over?

Not necessarily according to Joe Schmidt.

In an interview radio interview with RTE here is what Joe Schmidt had to say when being asked about Donnacha Ryan’s Ireland future.

‘As much as we try to keep everyone inside playing in Ireland, cause we want to do that to support the provinces. If we don’t manage the players well and we start picking players from outside of Ireland then other players are likely to go because they will see that they can still get selected by the national team’.

‘We never say never because there are some really good Irish players playing outside of Ireland but at the same time we want to keep investing in the people who are investing in our provincial game because in the end we need to keep our provincial game strong for our national team to be successful as well’.

Considering the huge impact Ryan has had for both Munster and Ireland this year, he still has an awful lot to offer, regardless of where he is plying his club trade next season.

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Emma Needham

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