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Ireland’s Rugby World Cup team is crammed with talent but pace could be missing

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Andy Farrell commenced his tenure as head coach at the beginning of this France Rugby World Cup 2023 cycle. He likely couldn't have foreseen the extent of changes the squad would undergo before finalizing the 33-man Ireland roster this past week.

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The absence of the outright speed that many of Ireland's main competitors possess

Nonetheless, this evolution meant that aside from the unfortunate absence of Cian Healy. The structure of the squad heading to their base in Tours next Thursday was already largely established. Even before the challenging final warm-up match against Samoa at the rain-soaked Stade Jean Dauger on Saturday night. Overall, this consistency in selection is likely a positive sign.

Although announced as the last squad for the tournament it proved to be the most foreseeable. Particularly in contrast to selections like South Africa's four scrum-halves or England's lineup. With a suspended number eight among ten back-five forwards.

Even Australia's choices seemed intent on future investments as Eddie Jones's drastic changes to Dave Rennie's three years of effort appeared geared towards four years hence. Where previous splits were 19-14, reflecting the traditional 5-3 bench ratio, Andy Farrell. And his assistants opted for a more standard division of 18 forwards and 15 backs aligning with the All-Blacks’ approach.

Furthermore, in contrast to the prior two Rugby World Cups Farrell refrained from risky selections. That Joe Schmidt had been compelled to make due to the 31-player maximum. Schmidt had chosen only two scrum-halves and enlisted Ian Madigan and Joey Carbery to provide supplementary coverage at the scrum-half position.

Farrell's choices embrace players for each place in the RWC

Farrell's selections include three players for each specialized position leveraging the versatility of Ryan Baird. And Tadhg Beirne to accommodate nine back-five forwards and the adaptability of Keith Earls. Jimmy O’Brien to cover nine positions spanning centres and outside backs. Not to be overlooked is Jack Crowley capable of performing at 10, 12, and 15.

When asked about his confidence in achieving coverage across the 18-15 split. Farrell responded with a smile, stating confidently Absolutely. It's about our resources and players with multi-positional skills. We have several such players throughout the forward pack. Rugby World Cup fans can buy Ireland Rugby World Cup Tickets from our website. 

Comparing the current situation to past selections for Six Nations or tours. Farrell highlighted the constraint of a reduced player count. He acknowledged the challenge of leaving out quality and talented players who aspire to compete in a RWC 2023. Yet stressed the importance of selecting a 33-player squad that maintains the right equilibrium.

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Denis Hickie notably stood as an exception rather than the norm further evidenced

Expressing contentment with the chosen squad he emphasized its exceptional talent and the equilibrium achieved. A harmonious blend of experience and novelty is also evident with Sexton, Conor Murray and Keith Earls participating in their fourth RWC.

Another four athletes are gearing up for their third appearance Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw and Peter O’Mahony. Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier all contributed to the Japan tournament four years ago.

Among Andy Farrell's squad, 15 players hold varying degrees of Rugby World Cup experience. While the remaining 18 are poised to make their debut in France.

The players in the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Ronan Kelleher, Joe McCarthy, Tom O’Toole, Jeremy Loughman, Caelan Doris, and Rob Herring. And Dan Sheehan, along with backs Ross Byrne, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Jamison Gibson-Park, Mack Hansen, Hugo Keenan, Stuart McCloskey, James Lowe and Jimmy O’Brien.

This tally falls slightly short of reigning champions and Pool B rivals South Africa. He boasts nine players entering their third RWC the Springboks even with Handre Pollard, and Lukhanyo Am. And Lood de Jager sidelined due to injuries albeit all listed as standby still features 21 members from the squad. That clinched South Africa's third Rugby World Cup victory in seven attempts four years ago.

It's worth noting that the Springboks possess the most stable lineup in the upper echelons of global rugby. Evident in their commanding performance when they dismantled the All Blacks with a historic margin at Twickenham last Friday. Rugby World Cup fans can buy Rugby World Cup 4th Quarter Final tickets from our website.

Despite the setback of losing Cian Healy Ireland's squad maintains a robust core of experience. Complemented by an infusion of fresh talent during the latter half of this RWC 2023 cycle. Sheehan, Kelleher, McCarthy, Doris and Baird represent a fresh wave of robust, dynamic and agile forwards emerging from the Leinster system.

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The setback of losing Cian Healy Ireland's squad maintains a robust core of experience

McCarthy in particular has earned swift inclusion despite limited appearances at the provincial level. Highlighting the coaching staff's knack for trusting their instincts over provincial hierarchies. A trend is seen in the significant promotion of Jamison Gibson-Park and the rapid ascent of Crowley on the fly-half ladder.

Robert Baloucoune such pace is slightly unusual

A substantial boost has come from Lowe's resurgence and the rise of Keenan, along with the more recent appearances of O’Brien and Hansen. Farrell was quick to incorporate the latter two into the Irish squad. On the flip side, the heartening story of Keith Earls' resurgence adds to the squad's narrative.

One potential limitation lies in the absence of the outright speed that many of Ireland's main competitors possess. Except for Robert Baloucoune such pace is somewhat scarce in Irish rugby and not deeply ingrained in the national sporting identity.

Denis Hickie notably stood as an exception rather than the norm further evidenced. By the inclusion of wingers hailing from Australia and New Zealand in the starting lineup. In parallel, this Irish team's composition and strategy appear to mirror the nation's athletic strengths. To read more Maisashvili of Georgia laments game plans for Rugby World Cup squad overhaul.

The squad embodies a keen sense of football intelligence aligning well with the intricate offensive approach favored by Farrell and his team. Their wingers are expected to boast versatile skill sets. Almost akin to third centres in their multi-faceted abilities.

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Andy Farrell commenced his tenure as head coach at the beginning of this France Rugby World Cup 2023 cycle

This past Saturday in Bayonne marked a historic occasion as this team clinched an unprecedented Irish record of 13 consecutive victories. This achievement was notably indebted to the composed leadership demonstrated by figures like Murray, Herring, Ryan and O’Mahony.

Wayne Barnes might eventually prove beneficial

This performance once again underscored the pivotal role of the Irish lineout and maul. Serving as a launchpad and draining opponents of their momentum. In a weekend of significance steering clear of a demoralizing defeat while contending with a fervent crowd. Challenging weather conditions spirited opposition and a laissez-faire officiating approach.

The squad announcement took a more subdued tone in comparison to South Africa's historic triumph over New Zealand, and Fiji's victory over England. And France's emphatic statement with a 41-17 win against Australia at the Stade de France.

Farrell commented that the weekend's remarkable outcomes are undoubtedly significant on the matter. However, as he mentioned previously if you look back five or six weeks. You'll recall New Zealand facing South Africa with a similar scoreline. Farrell alluded to the All Blacks 35-20 victory over South Africa in the Rugby Championship.

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