Exeter's Gareth Steenson 'unlucky' not to get Ireland call-up

Gareth Steenson
Gareth Steenson is one of five members of Exeter's squad who played in the Championship with the club

Exeter Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson should be in the Ireland squad, according to team-mate Ian Whitten.

Steenson, 31, was capped at youth level by Ireland, but has spent most of his career in England and has been a key member of the Exeter team.

"There aren't that many good 10's in Ireland," said Whitten, who has two caps for Ireland.

"I have to say that Gareth Steenson's been very, very unlucky not to have been capped by Ireland."

Steenson moved to Exeter from Cornish Pirates in 2008 and kicked the winning penalty that saw the Chiefs beat Bristol in the inaugural Championship play-off final in 2010, leading to their promotion to the top flight for the first time.

Since then he has become Exeter's record Premiership points-scorer, with 953, and equalled the top flight record of nine penalties in a match in 2014.

"I was lucky enough to get capped before I came over here," added Whitten, who agreed a new contract at Sandy Park last week.

"But similar to the English, although they don't openly say it, they don't like to pick guys playing outside of Ireland.

"That's fair enough, I accept that stance, and I enjoy playing here. I don't consider going back home as I didn't want to leave (the club)."

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