Coach Eddie O’Sullivan today named the 30-man Ireland squad that will take part in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Read on for further details.
The squad contains a split of 16 forwards and 14 backs for the tournament. The forward contingent contains four props with Marcus Horan, John Hayes, Bryan Young and Simon Best all being named in the squad. There are three hookers also included with Jerry Flannery, who started yesterday’s game against Scotland, Rory Best and Frankie Sheahan completing the front row players.
There are three second rows in the squad with Paul O’Connell and Donncha O’Callaghan joined by Ireland’s most-capped player Malcolm O’Kelly, who will be competing in his third World Cup tournament.
The highly competitive back row area sees Neil Best, Stephen Ferris and Alan Quinlan join Denis Leamy, David Wallace and Simon Easterby in the final squad.
In the backs division, Peter Stringer, Isaac Boss and Eoin Reddan are named as the three specialist scrum-halves, with Ronan O’Gara and Paddy Wallace confirmed as the two specialist out-halves.
The selection of the outside backs was complicated by the injury to Shane Horgan during the warm-up against Scotland yesterday. Horgan has been diagnosed with a knee ligament strain but following a scan this morning in Dublin, he has been named in the squad.
The prognosisis is that he may miss some of the games in the pool stages but may recover to take part in the tournament. In addition to Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy, Gavin Duffy, Denis Hickie, Andrew Trimble, Brian Carney, Girvan Dempsey and Geordan Murphy are named. The final name in the squad is that of Brian O’Driscoll, who has been named as Ireland’s captain for the tournament.
Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan said: “This was one of the toughest moments of my coaching career to select this 30-man squad. The players in the enlarged World Cup squad have all worked their guts out in pre-season and this has been the case throughout the camps over the last number of weeks.
“Unfortunately we were always going to be limited to 30 players and some very hard decisions had to be made by myself and Niall O’Donovan. The Scotland game yesterday solved some of the selection issues in the back row and also the back three and after four years of preparation, we are now on the run-in to the tournament.
“One part of the challenge for the players is behind them by getting selected. The challenge for us all now is to compete and be as successful as we can be in the tournament.”
The 30-man Ireland squad and management team will depart today for Capbreton in the south of France for a five-day warm weather camp, before returning to Belfast to prepare for their final warm-up game against Italy at Ravenhill on Friday, August 24.
IRELAND 2007 RUGBY WORLD CUP SQUAD:
FORWARDS (16) –
Neil Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Simon Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Simon Easterby (Llanelli)
Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
John Hayes (Bruff/Munster)
Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster)
Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
Malcolm O’Kelly (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Alan Quinlan (Shannon/Munster)
Frankie Sheahan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
Bryan Young (Ballymena/Ulster)
BACKS (14) –
Isaac Boss (Ballymena/Ulster)
Brian Carney (Clonakilty/Munster)
Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster)
Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht)
Denis Hickie (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Shane Horgan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Geordan Murphy (Leicester)
Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (CAPTAIN)
Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Eoin Reddan (Wasps)
Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)