In every World Cup cycle the year preceding the tournament is viewed as a stocktake of a team’s progress since the last global tournament. While some teams seek to maintain form and others remain in transition, Ireland embarked on an ambitious period of expansion broadening the selection equation with the aim of increasing squad depth and competition.
There were 11 Test matches played in 2022, 1 Ireland A fixture (All Blacks XV), 2 Ireland XV fixtures against the Māori All Blacks and 3 fixtures for Emerging Ireland in Bloemfontein. In total 84 players wore an Ireland jersey over the past 12 months across the 17 fixtures scoring a total of 62 tries. 45 players earned caps for the senior men’s team in 2022.
There were a number of milestones reached in 2022 – Johnny Sexton reached 500 points scored in the Guinness Six Nations and 1000 points scored for Ireland overall. Conor Murray won his 100th cap for Ireland and Josh van der Flier was voted World Player of the Year.
7 players earned the first senior international caps in 2022 (Jack Crowley, Mack Hansen, Jeremy Loughman, Michael Lowry, Joe McCarthy, Jimmy O’Brien and Cian Prendergast) bringing the total number of new caps in this world cup cycle to 30.
Ireland won 9 out of their 11 Test matches in 2022 losing to France in Paris and to New Zealand in Eden Park. The final victory of the year against Australia at the Aviva Stadium ensured the side equalled the record of 12 home victories in a row. Victories over New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the same calendar year was achieved for the second time in Ireland’s history the first being in 2016.
Guinness Six Nations Championships
|New Zealand Tour
|Toyota Challenge Bloemfontein
|Bank of Ireland ANS & Ireland A
Ireland rose to the top of the World Rugby Rankings at the end of July 2022 following the Series win over New Zealand and have maintained their position at the top of the rankings across the Rugby Championship and the November international window.
Two players Joe McCarthy and Cian Prendergast represented Ireland at every level in 2022. Joe started both games against the Māori All Blacks, started against the Griquas and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, started against the All Blacks XV and made his full international debut against Australia.
Cian also started both games against the Māori, captained Emerging Ireland against the Pumas and started against the Cheetahs. He started for Ireland A against the All Blacks XV and earned his first international cap against Fiji.
Jeremy Loughman played in both games against the Māori All Blacks, played for Ireland A against the All Blacks XV and made his international debut against Fiji. Whereas Jack Crowley played for Emerging Ireland against the Griquas and Cheetahs, came off the bench against the All Blacks XV for Ireland A and would then go on to earn a first international cap against Fiji and start the game against Australia a week later.
The Ireland coaching group have been involved in supporting all four teams in green this year further broadening understanding of the national approach and culture.
32 players were used in the 2022 Guinness Six Nations campaign where Ireland won a Triple Crown, scored the most tries (24) and conceded the least tries (4). 42 players were used across the five-game tour of New Zealand, 34 players competed in the Toyota Challenge in Bloemfontein and 49 players featured across the Bank of Ireland Autumn Nations Series and Ireland A competition window.
445 media interviews were delivered across the international windows with head coach Andy Farrell participating in 111 media interviews in 2022.