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Five Players Who Could Make Their Full Ireland Debuts Before The World Cup

Five Players Who Could Make Their Full Ireland Debuts Before The World Cup
By Colman Stanley Updated
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The majority of the Irish squad heading to this year's Rugby World Cup has already been picked. And so, opportunities for new players to debut will be scarce.

However, with injuries one of the main constants in the game, there are a few players who have shown enough talent and form for their provinces and with Emerging Ireland, who could realistically make their full debuts before the big show in France.

Ciaran Frawley

The outhalf come fullback/centre has three appearances for Ireland against the Maori All Blacks, neither of which counted as fully fledged test matches.

His performance in the second of those games showed that he is capable of stepping in at 10 at a high level, despite his lack of game time there for Leinster.

It is unclear when he will be returning from a knee injury sustained against the Maori in the RDS in November, but he will be eyeing a shot at the World Cup warm-ups in August.

His injury allowed Jack Crowley's to gain significant ground in the race for Ireland's 2nd/3rd choice 10 slot, but Frawley's ability to play at 15 remains crucial.

4 November 2022; Irish rugby : Ciaran Frawley of Ireland receives medical attention before leaving the pitch with an injury during the match between Ireland A and All Blacks XV at RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Tom Ahern

Ahern was set to make a push for a place in November's Autumn Series squad, after a strong start to the season at Munster and a commanding man-of-the-match display for Emerging Ireland against the Cheetahs in October.

A horrendously timed injury derailed his season, leaving him with the summer warm-ups as his last opportunity before the main event.

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Given his immense size (6 foot 9 and over 18 stone) and athletic ability, he is not someone Ireland can afford to ignore before the World Cup.

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The fourth choice second row slot with Ireland, currently occupied by Kieran Treadwell, is also very much up for grabs.

Antoine Frisch

Munster did indeed get a star centre signing this season, but not the one they had banked on. The Irish Frenchman has been a revelation for Munster, and has helped ease the disappointment of Malakai Fekitoa's form.

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He appears to be a well-rounded player, someone with athleticism and who can also play make and stand in a first receiver if needs be.

His main issue, in an international context, is that Ireland are stacked with world class centre options. However, such is his form this season, and given that he has already payed for Emerging Ireland, a place in the 23 to face Italy on the 25th of February is not out of the realms of possibility.

5 October 2022; Irish Rugby : Antoine Frisch of Emerging Ireland in action during the Toyota Challenge match between Airlink Pumas and Emerging Ireland at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Photo by Johan Pretorius/Sportsfile

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Tom Stewart

Stewart's performances in Ulster's current run of horrid form have been a small beacon of hope - although his throwing did let him down in their last play loss to Munster - with frequent examples of his Dan Sheehanesque pace and power, and six tries in this season's URC.

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He has the advantage of playing at the same province as Rob Herring, meaning that if he can overtake him for Ulster, he will be hard to ignore at an international level.

Diarmuid Barron

Barron has been superb for Munster this season, and was selected over Stewart for the game against the Maori in November.

He hasn't quite clinched the no. 2 jersey over Niall Scannell for Munster, but should he do that, and providing there is an injury or two, he could be an outside bet for a summer debut and possibly a World Cup spot.

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SEE ALSO: Irish Rugby : Graham Rowntree Threatened To Walk Out Of Testy Interview With Paul Kimmage

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