Winners and Losers From This Weekend's Irish Derbies

Winners and Losers From This Weekend's Irish Derbies

Ireland's opening 6 Nations match against England is only a few weekends away and with all 4 Irish Provinces going head to head we take a look who benefitted most from their performances this weekend.

Joey Carbery - Winner

It's highly unlikely that the Munster out-half is going to be handed a starting role in the opening game of the competition - although Joe Schmidt did hand the starting jersey against Australia last year - but his performance against Connacht certainly did his reputation no harm. 

He had another cracking game and controlled the encounter brilliantly. He was flawless from the tee, made one clean break beat 4 defenders and threw a lovely dummy to score.

His continued fine form could make Schmidt debate whether to stick the 23-year-old in the #15 jersey that Rob Kearney current has a stronghold on.

Conor O'Brien - Winner

The 22-year-old centre had an outstanding game against Ulster and scored a cracking individual try against Ulster on Saturday.

O'Brien is unlikely to a call up to the test squad, this year, but he is definitely a winner from this weekend.

His performance has already got the coaching staff pondering whether to add him to the Champions Cup squad for the clashes against Toulouse and Wasps.

O'Brien had an all-round brilliant performance making 11 of his 12 attempted tackles, beating 5 defenders and gaining over 70 running metres.

Jack Carty - Loser

Incredibly tough on Jack Carty to be included as a loser but following another fine display by Joey Carbery and the likes of Ross Byrne not even featuring against Ulster, the Connacht playmaker's chances of getting a call up have got even slimmer.

Carty has been in incredible form all season and there were suggestions that he might get a call up earlier this season. He put in another outstanding performance against Munster even though his side finished the clash on the losing end of the result.

Like Carbery, he scored a try, was perfect from the tee and racked up over 50 running metres. Ireland have a number of quality outhalves at the moment and Carty is, unfortunately, one of them who is missing out on test honours at the moment. 

Tadhg Beirne - Winner

Yet another warrior like performance by the former Scarlet who has hardly put a foot wrong since making the move to Thomond Park.

He was everywhere against Ulster getting stuck into the rucks making some key steals, carrying the ball well and making some thunderous hits.

With Iain Henderson likely to miss the Six Nations, Beirne is likely to take a spot on the bench but if he continues to perform the way he did against Ulster, Joe Schmidt could be tempted to reward him with a start against England at Aviva Stadium on 2 February. 

Sean Cronin - Winner 

The Leinster hooker grabbed a first half brace against Ulster on Saturday and furthered his claim as Ireland's second choice hooker. Niall Scannell and Rob Herring have been breathing down the neck of Cronin to displace him as the deputy to Ireland captain Rory Best. 

However, Cronin's performance against Ulster has surely made Schmidt and his coaching staff more confident that he has made the right decision. It wasn't just the two tries that the Leinster man scored that gives him the edge but also his effective ball carrying, strong tackling and excellent work at the set pieces.

It did help that Herring did not feature for Ulster this weekend while Scannell kept the pressure on with a strong game against Connacht. 

Denis Buckley - Loser

Another Connacht player on the wrong end of this piece. Buckley was set to make his 150th appearance in the Connacht jersey this weekend but pulled out of the clash with Munster through injury. 

Buckley is still yet to represent Ireland and has become more than just a stellar scrummager of the past few seasons. 

His work at the breakdown has improved greatly, so has his ball carrying. 

A strong performance against a solid Munster pack could have force Schmidt to have another look at the 28-year-old

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