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Depth In Irish Rugby Evident With Quality Players Left Out Of 44-Man Squad

Depth In Irish Rugby Evident With Quality Players Left Out Of 44-Man Squad
By Conor O'Leary Updated

Ireland named a 44-man training squad for a quick one-day get-together at Carton House this weekend. You'd be forgiven for thinking that in a list of 44 names, almost every international quality rugby player would be included.

You'd be wrong though. As is the case for Irish fans, there were mumblings about why certain players weren't included - so we had a thought. What would the best XV of Irish qualified players be like without any of those in the named Ireland squad (including injuries).

The task was easy in some areas - Ireland are blessed in the front-row, back-row, and back-three is seems - and harder in others - half-backs where are you?

Here's the team we've come up with - complete with a replacements bench. This team could do some damage against any of the other Irish provinces no?

15. Tiernan O'Halloran (Connacht)

He's had a fantastic season for Connacht so far, and despite his minor injury at the moment - his form is better than Andrew Conway's is for Munster.

14. Tommy Bowe (Ulster)

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On the comeback trail already, Bowe appeared for the Ulster Ravens against Munster A last week. He doesn't seem to far from a comeback. A surprise exclusion given other injury concerns were involved.

13. Darren Cave (Ulster)

Not the Ulsterman's best season - but it shows how far he's fallen since being a surprise name in the World Cup squad. Schmidt seems to favour Ringrose now.

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12. Rory Scannell (Munster)

Perhaps a bit soon for Scannell, his time will come. Beats Noel Reid for the spot.

11. Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster)

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Seems to be fit at the moment - an unusual omission.

10. Johnny Holland (Munster)

The apparent choice ahead of Keatley for Munster right now, so why not here? Connacht outhalves also worth a shout.

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9. John Cooney (Connacht)

Has been in good form pushing Marmion at Connacht, but a bit of an injury disrupted season. Isaac Boss' time with Ireland appears over.

1. Denis Buckley (Connacht)

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The biggest cause of outrage for most Irish fans. Surprised not to see James Cronin included either. Healy and Kilcoyne appear lucky.

2. James Tracey (Leinster)

The young hooker appears to have broken out this season. Tough behind Cronin and Strauss at Leinster - but will challenge both next year.

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3. Marty Moore (Leinster)

His injury and his impending departure count against him. Nathan White's concussion also deemed him unavailable.

4. Ross Moloney (Leinster)

A fantastic breakout season for the mini replica of Leo Cullen. Has been one of the standout forward for Leinster since his January man of the match performance against Bath.

5. Dan Tuohy (Ulster)

Tuohy would be a 50-cap international if it wasn't for all of his injuries.

6. Jack O'Donoghue (Munster)

Has played all across the back-row this season, and probably most comfortable at 8. Munster are rightly excited by him.

7. Chris Henry (Ulster)

The most surprising omission. Henry seemed to be a key part of Joe Schmidt's team in 2014 - but has completely fallen out of favour since suffering a mini-stroke just before Ireland played South Africa.

8. Jack Conan (Leinster)

Conan's 2015/16 season has been completely blighted with injury - but the St. Gerard's back-row has already shown his international abilities.

Replacements:

16. Niall Scannell (Munster)
17. James Cronin (Munster)
18. Nathan White (Connacht)
19. Dave Foley (Munster)
20. John Muldoon (Connacht)
21. Paul Marshall (Ulster)
22. Ian Keatley (Munster)
23. Rory Scholes (Ulster)

See Also: Matt Healy And Peter O'Mahony Included In 44-Man Ireland Squad

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