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Predicting Ireland's First Choice 23 For The Rugby World Cup

Predicting Ireland's First Choice 23 For The Rugby World Cup
By Colman Stanley Updated
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With the Irish provinces done for the season - Munster champions of the URC, Leinster hurting and empty handed, Ulster at a crossroads, and Connacht with hope ahead of next year - we have taken a look at a possible Ireland 23 for the World Cup.

Andrew Porter - Loose Head Prop

A shoe-in at 1.

Has had some scrummaging issues with Leinster that aren't as prevalent with Ireland, but will want to improve in this area.

Dan Sheehan - Hooker

In the conversation for best in the world at his position, and was in contention for Champions Cup final MOTM had Leinster won.

Has improved his physicality this season as well, an area in which is closest competitor, Rónan Kelleher, would have been ahead.

24 May 2023; Dan Sheehan of Leinster pictured with his BKT URC Players’ Player of the Season award at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tadhg Furlong - Tight Head Prop

Has struggled for form and fitness this season, while Finlay Bealham had a magnificent Six Nations in his absence.

He still has more than enough in the bank to start, but do not be surprised if the Connacht man manages to overtake him - something which would have been unheard of a few years back.

Tadhg Beirne - Lock

Was missing for the Six Nations, but has come back and been close to his best during Munster's URC run.


A fit and firing Beirne is one of the best in the world in any position and has the capabilities to bring Ireland to a new level.

James Ryan - Lock

After a loss of form in 2021, he is back and even better than he was in 2018.

Has added a real hard edge to his game and his line out work has been superb on both sides of the ball.


Peter O'Mahony - Blindside Flanker

33-years-old and playing the best rugby of is career since the summer tour to New Zealand.

Like Beirne's poaching, O'Mahony's line out work could be a crucial point of difference in a tight World Cup knockout game.

However, he will have to be on his toes given the excellent form of Jack Conan, and Farrell's history of swapping the two players.


27 May 2023; Peter O'Mahony of Munster is tackled by Deon Fourie of DHL Stormers during the United Rugby Championship Final match between DHL Stormers and Munster at DHL Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Nic Bothma/Sportsfile

Josh van der Flier - Openside Flanker

2023 World Rugby Player of the Year. Enough said.


Caelan Doris - Number Eight 

Has established himself as one of the premier players in the world when on form, and produced one of the all-time Irish performances against France in the Six Nations.

Tends to have a bigger impact and is more freed up when playing eight, with O'Mahony at blindside.

Jamison Gibson-Park - Scrum-Half

Conor Murray may have been excellent in the first few rounds of the 2023 Six Nations, but JGP's return against Scotland showed just how vital he is to Ireland's play style.


Such a luxury to have a one-two punch of that quality with Gibson-Park and Murray.

Johnny Sexton - Out-Half


And still Ireland's most important player.

Will be back for the World Cup, and well rested, but will be hoping that nothing comes of his post Champions Cup final antics.

18 March 2023; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland celebrates after teammate Dan Sheehan, not pictured, scored their side's first try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

James Lowe - Left Wing

That left boot still feels like a cheat code at times, while his defence as greatly improved since his early days in an Irish jersey.

Robbie Henshaw - Inside Centre

Brings a different level of physicality and doggedness than the rest of the centre options.

Game time has been sporadic this season but put in two excellent shifts for Leinster in consecutive weeks - against Munster and La Rochelle - just in time for World Cup prep.

Garry Ringrose - Outside Centre

Enjoying the best season of his career, and has been superb on both sides of the ball.

Like most of the team, he will be hurting bad after Leinster's Champions Cup final loss.

Hopefully they can channel that hurt in the right direction at the World Cup.

Mack Hansen - Right Wing

His performances against Scotland was one of the most rounded wing showings ever in an Irish jersey, as he popped up everywhere on the pitch when it looked like Ireland might crack.

18 March 2023; Conor Murray of Ireland, left, and teammate Mack Hansen, right, celebrate after Dave Kilcoyne scores their side's fourth try during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Hugo Keenan - Fullback

Another one of the first names on the team sheet given his consistency, lack of errors, and the lack of a clear replacement.

A player who keeps getting better, and come the World Cup, it will be interesting to see what string he has added to his bow.


Cian Healy - His cameo at hooker against Scotland increased his value to the 23, tenfold.

Rónan Kelleher - A return to is best form could see him be a better option than Sheehan in certain match ups, given Kelleher's prowess in the scrum.

Finlay Bealham - An amazing season for the Connacht man and if the World Cup began tomorrow he would probably start.

Ryan Baird - So tight between himself and Henderson, but Baird's athletic dynamism offers something different to anyone else in the squad.

Jack Conan - Nearly always as a big impact off the bench, and will continue to give Andy Farrell a selection headache.

Conor Murray -  Being able to spring Conor Murray from the bench is the envy of most international sides.

Ross Byrne - Will be feeling the pressure from Jack Crowley, but his Six Nations performances and goal kicking stand him in good stead.

Bundee Aki - Similar to Jack Conan; always has an impact off the bench and will be pushing hard for a start.

SEE ALSO: South Africans Were Loving The Munster Supporters During Their Stay In Cape Town

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