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Rugby World Cup: Ireland team profile

After winning a Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year, Ireland head into the World Cup in France ranked as the number one team in the world.

Their success came off the back of winning a series in New Zealand for the first time, but they have never made it past the quarter-finals at the World Cup and face a tough draw having been placed in Pool B alongside South Africa and Scotland.

Confirmed Squad

Head coach Andy Farrell's 33-man Ireland squad for the Rugby World Cup is as follows:


Ryan Baird (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Jeremy Loughman (Munster), Joe McCarthy (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Tom O’Toole (Ulster), Andrew Porter (Leinster), James Ryan (Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster).


Bundee Aki (Connacht), Ross Byrne (Leinster), Craig Casey (Munster), Jack Crowley (Munster), Keith Earls (Munster), Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster), Mack Hansen (Connacht), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster), Hugo Keenan (Leinster), James Lowe (Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster).


A legend in rugby league as a player, Andy Farrell struggled to make the desired impact in the 15-man code, but has developed into one of union’s finest coaches.

After enjoying stints with Saracens and England, as well as under Warren Gatland with the British & Irish Lions, he joined Joe Schmidt’s Ireland set-up in 2016 and succeeded the Kiwi in 2020.

Farrell’s calm and engaging persona has made him a popular figure with his players, while he has also shown himself to be astute at recruitment, with former Lions Mike Catt, Simon Easterby and Paul O’Connell all part of his coaching team.

The 48-year-old has grown into the role over the last three years and his progressive style of play means his team have a realistic chance of winning the Webb Ellis Cup.

Possible First XV

15. Hugo Keenan
14. Mack Hansen
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Jamison Gibson-Park 
8. Jack Conan
7. Josh van der Flier 
6. Caelan Doris
5. James Ryan
4. Tadhg Beirne
3. Tadhg Furlong
2. Dan Sheehan 
1. Andrew Porter


Ireland’s improvement under first Schmidt and then Farrell has been built on the plans put in place by the former while in charge of Leinster.

Despite a recent lack of trophies, the Dublin outfit are seen as the benchmark when it comes to developing squad depth and technical excellence.

At the heart of this is captain Jonathan Sexton, who dominates from fly-half and will have a point to prove ahead of his retirement after the tournament.

He is surrounded by skill and speed in the back-line, while up front hooker Dan Sheehan is arguably the best in the world in his position and Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier - the current Men’s World Player of the Year - are both world-class operators in the back-row.


For all of Leinster’s technical excellence, a lack of power has often seen them fall short and accusations about a dearth of grunt are equally aimed at Ireland.

Props Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong are excellent technical scrummagers, but have been outmuscled in the past, and Farrell may opt to include Jack Conan ahead of Peter O’Mahony in the back-row to add an extra ball-carrying presence due to the relative lack of go-forward around him.

Sexton’s situation is also a worry, with the veteran’s injury record meaning he was always likely to be lightly-raced heading into the tournament.

However, suspension means he will not play in any of the warm-up matches and may be required to come through a bruising encounter against Tonga to ensure he is ready to face South Africa in the pool stages.

Key Players

Josh van der Flier

Arguably the premier open-side flanker in world rugby, Van der Flier’s improvement as a carrier in recent years has elevated him to the elite.

Brilliant in defence and an expert over the ball, the Leinster ace also has an eye for the try-line.

Caelan Doris

Capable of playing across the back-row, Doris will undoubtedly start alongside Van der Flier and either Conan or O’Mahony, whether that be on the blind-side or in his best position of number eight.

A generational talent, he hits hard in defence and punches holes in the loose, with his showing in the Six Nations win over France the benchmark performance of the year so far.

Jonny Sexton

He might be just about ready to retire, but Ireland’s attacking play still revolves around fly-half Sexton.

Fitness has been an issue for the 38-year-old in recent years, but Sexton showed how good he was in the Six Nations and has previously demonstrated that he knows how to get back into form without playing regular minutes.

Ones to watch

Hugo Keenan

A favourite of Farrell and understandably so, Keenan’s ability to cover the field in back play makes him a key part of Ireland's defensive system, while he is often elusive when returning the ball.

The Leinster star looks almost guaranteed to tour with the Lions in 2025 and promises to be a big part of Ireland’s plans.

Dan Sheehan

Another player who has come into his own under Farrell, hooker Sheehan’s excellence in the loose is matched by his prowess in the tight.

Arguably the leading hooker in world rugby, the abrasive front-rower will happily lead the charge to Ireland’s opponents. 


  • To Win Outright - 5/1
  • To Reach the Final - 7/4
  • To Win Pool - 1/1

All odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

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