Following today’s victory over Italy and three rounds of play in the Six Nations completed, Joe Schmidt will be a few steps closer to identifying the 31 players that will travel to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Only one player, Jack Carty, has made his debut since November with Schmidt sticking to a core of players that have served him well to date.
Eleven members of the November Series squad will be forced to watch the tournament from home with the exception of maybe one bolter but it seems unlikely that Schmidt will blood more new talent in the months that remain before Ireland open their Rugby World Cup challenge against Six Nations rivals Scotland.
Ultimate Rugby have set themselves the unenviable task of selecting a 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup:
Cian Healy Dave Kilcoyne Tadhg Furlong Andrew Porter John Ryan
Rory Best Sean Cronin Niall Scannell
Second Rows (4):
James Ryan Iain Henderson Devin Toner Tadhg Beirne
Back Rows (5):
Peter O’Mahony Sean O’Brien Dan Leavy Josh van der Flier CJ Stander
Conor Murray Kieran Marmion Luke McGrath
Johnny Sexton Joey Carbery
Robbie Henshaw Bundee Aki Garry Ringrose Chris Farrell
Back Three (5):
Rob Kearney Jacob Stockdale Will Addison Keith Earls Jordan Larmour
On the Fringes: Jack McGrath, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ross Byrne, Jack Carty, Adam Byrne