Earlier today, Joe Schmidt named his Ireland training squad for the World Cup. We look into who should be counted as winners and losers.
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Michael Bent (Dublin University/Leinster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)*
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)
Isaac Boss (Terenure/Leinster)
Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht)
Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Jared Payne (Ulster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Noel Reid (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) Simon Zebo (Cork Con/Munster)
*Denotes uncapped player
James Cronin: Such a talented and aggressive young prop with ball-carrying ability. Cronin loses out to Michael Bent of Leinster.
Duncan Casey: Despite barely putting a foot wrong for Munster over the last two seasons, he wasn’t even considered good enough for the emerging Ireland side. Perhaps being replaced by Guinazu at the season’s end for scrummaging reasons cost him.
Denis Buckley: Another young prop with great confidence. The competition might have just fallen a bit too early for him.
Nathan White: The Connacht prop was excused for Tadhg Furlong of Leinster which is a fifty-fifty decision. The kiwi was unlucky.
Stephen Archer: Munster’s tighthead Archer had a great end to the Pro 12 season as he dislodged BJ Botha for the semi-final and performed very well indeed. Unfortunately, Schmidt sees him outside of Ireland’s top three tight heads
Dave Foley: At the start of the season you could have said that Foley was capable of being Ireland’s starting lock for the RWC if he performed well provincially. He did just that but an injury picked up in Winter would damage his chances and it looks like he’s failed to prove his fitness.
Mike McCarthy: The Leinster lock is experienced as has appeared for important Irish games before. He has come under a lot of criticism since switching province from Connacht but he finally showed some form for the blues at the back end of this season.
Rhys Ruddock: Ruddock was looking likely to be selected until he picked up an injury for Emerging Ireland last week. He is a bulldozer when in full flight, as shown V South Africa.
Ian Keatley: Selected ahead of Ian Madigan for Ireland’s opener as reqward for strong domestic performance back in February. However, this team he has been punished as two disastrous outings against Ospreys and Glasgow exposed his weaknesses to Schmidt.
JJ Hanrahan: Fans from all around the country would have loved to have seen JJ as a bit of a wildcard. However, as Anthony Foley mistreated the Kerry outhalf with Munster, he was given little chance.
Luke Marshall: The Ulster centre has huge ability but has been robbed by persistent injuries and concussions in recent times.
Stuart McCloskey: The biggest omission of all. The bruizing Ulster centre was ignored as the Leinster duo of Noel Reid and Gordon D’Arcy were selected.
Rob Herring: It’s difficult to say who’s luckier, Herring or Strauss. Eitherway, the Ulster hooker has overcome fierce competition from Munster’s Duncan Casey for a spot.
Michael Bent: A shock selection as the experienced Leinster prop is preferred to up and coming talent such as James Cronin and Denis Buckley.
Tadhg Furlong: Yet another Leinster forward. Furlong has shown promise in the Pro 12 and has therefore been selected over Stephen Archer and Nathan White.
Donnacha Ryan: After a long-term absence for Munster, Ryan will be counting his blessings as he makes the training squad. The Nenagh man’s finest match upon return was against the Ospreys in Thomond Park.
Jack Conan: The blues number eight has been awarded for a stellar season but will still need to work hard to make the final cut.
Gordon D’Arcy: If D’Arcy makes the final squad, it will be his final tournament and we think retirement is probably the right call as we are failing to see what D’Arcy can bring to the table that Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey doesn’t.
Noel Reid: D’Arcy’s fellow Leinster centre has featured scarcely for his province but has still been preferred to superior competition for the spot such as Luke Marshall or McCloskey.
Luke Fitzgerald: Despite missing large parts of the season once again, ‘Lukey’ has been brought in to the squad as a versatile option. His inclusion may have cost one of Ulster’s centres dearly.
Andrew Trimble: On his day, the Ulsterman can be one of Ireland’s best players. However, Trimble hasn’t played since last Autumn and has a huge Summer ahead of him to repay Joe Schmidt for his selection.
Thanks for reading.