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Joe Schmidt Considering Risky Selections In Ireland World Cup Squad

Joe Schmidt Considering Risky Selections In Ireland World Cup Squad
By Conor O'Leary
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Every rugby fan and his dog has an opinion on who should go to the World Cup to represent Ireland. Some want Keith Earls, others prefer Simon Zebo. Some are praying for Marty Moore to be healthy - others pine for the days of John Hayes.

Ireland are in a strange position of having developed quite a bit of depth across the team meaning that there are a lot of tough choices ahead of Schmidt. Some quality players are going to be left behind. Look at the winger spots. Craig Gilroy was the top try scorer in the Pro 12. Dave Kearney, Simon Zebo, and Andrew Trimble were all starting wingers for Six Nations winning teams, but it's feasible that there are at least three or four players other options in Tommy Bowe, Keith Earls, Felix Jones, and Luke Fitzgerald.

Which is why the make-up of Australia's final 31 man squad last Friday will have interested Schmidt. Michael Cheika went with the unconventional method of naming just two hookers and two scrumhalves in favour of bringing extra bodies in other positions.

This comes just after rumours that Schmidt is considering following suit to bring just two scrumhalves. According to Brendan Fanning of the Sunday Independent- Schmidt is considering a few risky selections.


Three scrumhalves were a staple of 30-man World Cup squads given how specialised the position is, and that just one position means that a third is required on the bench, which isn't the same as other outside backs. Ireland have Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan as definitives in the position - but with Kieran Marmion's inexperience, and Isaac Boss' lack of form combined with Ireland's strength out wide is leading Schmidt into considering the risk. In the event of an injury, it's rumoured that Ian Madigan - whose pass and sniping ability is already known - would be called in as the emergency backup.

Back in 2011, Boss was the third scrumhalf that went to New Zealand - playing just 60 minutes in the tournament.


Schmidt seems set to bring just five props - and is apparently leaning towards gambling on the fitness of Cian Healy and Marty Moore. Healy certainly is good enough that a gamble would be worth it, but the emergence of Nathan White means that a gamble on the young Moore isn't as necessary.

Tournament rules dictate that replacements to the squad can be made after 48 hours, meaning any injuries in the two days before a game will leave Ireland short.

Ireland are set to announce their 31 man squad after the Wales game next Saturday and before the 31st August deadline.


[Sunday Independent]

See Also: Ireland's Biggest RWC Threats Have Named Their RWC Squad
See Also: Predicting Ireland's Rugby World Cup Squad: Part 1

Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

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