And can you point me to where Henry said that? You've said it twice now and I don't recall that comment.
Donal Lennihan and Hugh Cahill mentioned it in commentary.
From memory it was something like...
"We spoke to Graham Henry on the sideline yesterday and he mentioned about 5 players that he thought Joe persisted with too long. I'm not going to name any names but I was shocked when he said it"
These are the most capped players in order with ages afterwards.
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 119 caps CAPTAIN 37
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 91 caps 33
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 90 caps 32
Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 83 caps 34
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 77 caps 32
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 73 caps 30
Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 69 caps 33
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 59 caps 30
All over 30 however we can eliminate Cronin as he didn't play in the WC
Take your pick out of the other 7 because no one else is either over 30 or had more than 50 caps going into the tournament.
Personally I don't think 8 players over 30 is a lot in a squad of 31. I am struggling to find 5 that I would have left at home even with hindsight.
If I had to choose I would definitely keep Healy.
Conor Murray has been in bad form since his injury and the rumour was that McGrath pushed him hard for his place. But he is only 30 and was one of the top scrum halves in the world pre injury.
O'Mahony is also just 30 and with 59 caps is hardly ready to be put out to pasture. I am in the group of people who doesn't see why he is an automatic starter for Ireland but no way I'd leave him at home.
Sexton similarly is only a year from winning player of the year. Yes he is 34 but should have had plenty in the tank for the WC tbf.
Earls at 32 for a winger is knocking on but who else was shooting the lights out on the wing?
Kearney at 33 should have enough in the tank for a WC positional sense etc fairly unmatched.
Best was a gamble and probably his captaincy swung it. I don't think he let us down though.
I don't see any clear options that were shouting to be included. The biggest shock pre tournament was the absence of Devin Toner.
Perhaps Henry meant that Joe should have jettisoned some of them a year or two out to keep it fresh.
Fair enough you did get the feeling that Joe wanted to keep his lads in place that were tried and tested for his last tournament, but again.... World player of the year and his halfback partner? Really? Just dump them?