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Sam Prendergast should be brought into the Ireland set up sooner rather than later, according to Munster and Ireland legend Keith Wood.

Long before Johnny Sexton retired, there has been multiple conversations around who will eventually succeed him as Ireland's and Leinster's premiere flyhalf.

There have been many challengers to the thrown over the years. Joey Carberry, Ross Byrne, Bully Burns, Harry Byrne, Jack Crowley, Jack Carty and even Ciaran Frawley have all made arguments over the years, among others.

However, until Sexton's retirement after the Rugby World Cup last year, no one has been able to take the jersey off the outgoing captain.

Now, a new challenger has come to the fore in U20's star Sam Prendergast. The 20 year old, who turns 21 during the Six Nations, has long been earmarked for success, however some have warned against throwing him to the wolves too quickly.

With the pretenders to the thrown all scrambling to grab hold of the green 10 jersey before the Six Nations, Keith Wood feels the youngsters deserves to be in with a shout.

Prendergast is a rare talent

While Wednesday Night Rugby host Will O'Callaghan and Fiona Hayes both suggested that the young flyhalf should be given time at the helm to develop before throwing him into the deep end, Wood disagreed.

"I think he's a fairly rare talent," Wood said. "I do think Prendergast has a lot of rough edges, I would definitely want to see him in the Six Nations squad. The extended squad definitely, very early.

"He needs to see how far further up he has to go. He needs that door open for him. It isn't that he hasn't earned it. He has the talent to go through it if it is opened for him.

"Why would we wait another year, or year and a half? I'm not a fan of that. If he's robust enough and strong enough to be able to deal with it, I think he offers something else and different."

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