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Predicting Ireland's 23 For The 2027 Rugby World Cup

Predicting Ireland's 23 For The 2027 Rugby World Cup
By Colman Stanley Updated
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With Ireland's 2023 Rugby World Cup now firmly in view - their opening warm up game is just two weeks away - our build up to the sport's premier competition is underway.

While all the talk is over who will make the 33-man cut for France, we have looked ahead to the 2027 tournament in Australia, and at the men we think will be lining out in four years time.

Andrew Porter - Loose Head Prop

Age: 31

He will be a proper Test veteran by the next World Cup, and, along with Hugo Keenan, the most solid prediction to be starting in Australia.

By the time 2027 comes around, we hope, and expect, that this front-row will be chalked down as one of the best the sport has seen.

Dan Sheehan - Hooker

Age: 29

With only one slot available in the side, hooker has become the most stacked and congested position in Ireland.


All four provinces have excellent options currently, with more coming through at underage, but it will take somebody special to overtake Sheehan in the space of four years.

Rónan Kelleher will of course be in the mix, but Sheehan gets the nod for obvious reasons.

20 July 2023; Irish rugby ; Dan Sheehan poses for a portrait during an Ireland rugby media conference in the IRFU High Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

READ HERE: Four Ireland U20s Players Who Could Make Their URC Debuts Next Season

Tadhg Furlong - Tight Head Prop

Age: 34


Will age have caught up with Tadhg? Yes, but probably not enough that he won't be international quality still.

A likely last hurrah for the Wexford man.

James Ryan - Lock

Age: 30


The captain of the side, and will still be a relatively young man for his position, in what will be his third World Cup.

His international career will have been a decade old by the time the tournament rolls around.

Tom Ahern - Lock

Age: 27


Now we are into the real speculative calls, and predicting the careers of those who have yet to pick up an international cap.

He will have competition from his teammate Edwin Edogbo, and the already established Joe McCarthy, but his toughest rival may be injuries.

Along with Jack Crowley, he was the outstanding player on last year's Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa, and possesses immense physical gifts, standing at 6ft 9in.


Of course, there is always Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson. Both will be 35 years of age, and while we are predicting that the next generation will have overtaken them, we also hope to be proved wrong.

Or will World Rugby bring in another set of laws, allowing Mr. Kleyn to switch back once again....

21 February 2020; Irish rugby ; Thomas Ahern of Ireland is tackled by George Barton, left, and Tom Roebuck during the Six Nations U20 Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ryan Baird - Blindside Flanker

Age: 27

This season felt like a second breakout year for the blindside/second row hybrid.

After a slight stall in his career - with injuries playing a part - he has been rejuvenated in both green and blue, and looks set to play a big part at the upcoming World Cup.

While Peter O'Mahony is in the form of his career, even the most ardent Munster head will admit that at 38 it will be a bridge too far.

Josh van der Flier - Openside Flanker

Age: 34


This pick required a little more thought than others, and we could be fairly accused of going for the easy option.

The first decision is whether a 34-year-old VDF will be as good as he is now, and if not, then which one of John Hodnett, Scott Penny, or Ruadhán Quinn do you opt for?

However, we see no reason why the form of the current World Player of the Year will have dropped off enough to not have him as the likely starter in four years time.

Caelan Doris - Number Eight

Age: 29

Another test veteran for 2027, and a straight forward choice at the back of the scrum.

The other options would be the speculative choice of the generational looking Brian Gleeson, the ever present Jack Conan, or less favoured Gavin Coombes.

Craig Casey - Scrum-Half

Age: 28

Conor Murray will be retired by 2027, and we reckon that a 35-year-old Jamison Gibson-park won't have the same zip and quickness as he does now.

In four years time, Casey has the potential to be our own Faf de Klerk.

29 May 2023; Irish rugby ; Craig Casey celebrates with supporters during the Munster Rugby homecoming as URC Champions at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Jack Crowley - Out-Half

Age: 27

There is a temptation to go for Sam Prendergast, who has displayed a lot of the skills of a Test number 10 during his superb tenure with the Ireland U20s.

However, the supremely talented Crowley is already an established, URC winning out-half, who, crucially, has nobody in front of him at Munster to affect his game time.

The Byrne brothers will also be factors at just 28 and 32 years of age.

Mack Hansen - Left Wing

Age: 29

Another easy decision, in a position where Ireland are not overrun with young talent.

Robbie Henshaw - Inside Centre

Age: 34

When it comes to predicting Ireland's 2027 centre partnership, you get a better sense of just how blessed we have been, and how rare it has been, to have four centres - McCloskey, Aki, Ringrose included - of such talent, available at the same time.

There will be other options, such as Jamie Osborne, Antoine Frisch, and possibly Hugh Cooney, but Henshaw is a rare talent, with injuries providing the biggest obstacle to his selection.

20 May 2023; Irish rugby ; Robbie Henshaw of Leinster during the Heineken Champions Cup Final match between Leinster and La Rochelle at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Garry Ringrose - Outside Centre

Age: 32

An old, but obscenely wise and experienced centre axis, with both men standing out as options for captaincy should an injury befall James Ryan.

Ringrose is currently in the midst of the best season of his career, and should be able to continue it for at least another four seasons.

Robert Baloucoune - Right Wing

Age: 29

Injuries have been the scourge of the Ulsterman's career thus far, but we are backing him to overcome them and fulfil his massive potential.

Calvin Nash and Shane Daly should also be in the mix, and James Lowe could also do an Adam Ashley-Cooper on it and defy the odds by lining out as a 35-year-old.

Hugo Keenan - Fullback

Age: 31

We cannot envisage a situation where, injuries aside, Hugo Keenan is not lining out for his country at the next World Cup.

His coverage of the back field, defence, and proficiency under the high ball are, and will always be, the most valuable skills a fullback can have.


Michael Milne, Rónan Kelleher, Paddy McCarthy, Joe McCarthy, Brian Gleeson, Nathan Doak, Sam Prendergast, Jamie Osborne.

SEE ALSO: Ferris Discusses Serious World Cup Issues For Ireland After Sexton Ban

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