Jamison Gibson-Park has proven he has what to takes to be Ireland’s starting scrum-half, according to Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster.
The 29-year-old has taken to international rugby like a duck to water since making his debut in October, already accumulating eight caps under Andy Farrell.
Gibson-Park has moved ahead of Luke McGrath in Ireland’s pecking order and has started four of Ireland’s last six Test matches, with first-choice Conor Murray suffering an injury.
Murray is back fit and could reclaim his place in the starting XV to face Scotland on Sunday but Lancaster thinks New Zealand-born Gibson-Park has showed his worth.
“It’s great to see him come over here as a quiet young man and grow into an international player,” he said.
“I think he believes he is the number one, thinks he should be starting. As a consequence, he plays like that. So, he plays with a lot more control and composure.
“He’s experienced now. He has played in a lot of good environments, Super Rugby, but also here in Leinster. Now he has tasted international rugby as well.
“I thought his last performance was his best. It will be interesting to see what they do this weekend because you certainly wouldn’t worry if he was starting again.”
Ireland revealed winger Keith Earls is the latest player to sign an IRFU contract extension, with the veteran penning a new deal until the end of next season.
The 33-year-old has won 91 Ireland caps and is Ireland’s second top try-scorer of all-time with 33.
Earls said: “Munster and Ireland are building strong squads, with exciting talent coming through ensuring two very competitive environments.
“I want to play a role for Munster this season and next, and I am as passionate as ever about pulling on the green jersey and being successful with Ireland.”