The Ireland coaching team have named their 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup tournament in England.
The selected squad is made up of 17 forwards and 14 backs and will be captained by Paul O’Connell, who is the most-capped player in the Irish set-up with 103 caps. The Limerick-born lock is set for his fourth World Cup.
The squad has a total of 1043 caps across the 31 players. Seventeen players will make their tournament debuts at Rugby World Cup 2015 – Darren Cave, Luke Fitzgerald, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, Dave Kearney, Ian Madigan, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Peter O’Mahony, Jared Payne, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, Nathan White and Simon Zebo.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt confirmed that the process of selecting the squad was a difficult one, stating: “The players have worked incredibly hard over the past two months. Sunday was a difficult and very long day for the coaching team and an anxious one for many players.
“There were some very tight decisions, particularly in the back-three. It was also a challenge to make sure that key positions were covered as much as a squad of 31 players allows.
“A number of players were very unlucky to miss selection. We know from observing past World Cups that it’s important for us to keep track of their performances because some of them are likely to be involved in the tournament.”
Ireland are in Pool D alongside Canada, Romania, Italy and France. Their first game of the tournament comes against the Canadians at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday, September 19. A small number of tickets for some of Ireland’s games are still available. Go to https://tickets.rugbyworldcup.com/ for more details.
The Ireland Rugby World Cup squad will host an Open Training Session at the RDS in Dublin on Tuesday, September 8 ahead of travelling to the tournament the following week.
IRELAND 2015 RUGBY WORLD CUP Squad:
Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 62
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 9
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 41
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster) 30
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht) 11
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) 12
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 9
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 63
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 20
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 36
Jared Payne (Ulster) 7
Eoin Reddan (Old Crescent/Leinster) 63
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 52
Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 17
Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 84
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 45
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 1
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 51
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 74
Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 19
Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster) 18
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 19
Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 12
Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 36
Paul O’Connell (Young Munster) 103 (capt)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 31
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 51
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster) 30
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster) 9
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 26
Nathan White (Connacht) 2