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Former England Rugby Captain Doesn't Think Much Of Ireland's Squad Depth

Former England Rugby Captain Doesn't Think Much Of Ireland's Squad Depth
By Conor O'Leary Updated
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England's youngest ever rugby captain - Will Carling thinks that Ireland are the best equipped northern hemisphere side to challenge for the William Webb Ellis trophy next month - but has issues with Schmidt's squad.

As Schmidt faces a tough task of narrowing down his pool of 47 talented players to 31 - Carling thinks the back to back Six Nations champions have a lack of depth that could prevent them from going as far as they could.

Ireland are a bloody strong side. They are the strongest side in the Northern Hemisphere, in my mind.

I've always been a fan of Tommy Bowe and I think Sexton is exceptional. Henshaw is physical and has done well too.

Brian O'Driscoll is pretty incomparable to most other players but you haven't noticed too much of an issue for Ireland since he's been gone.

O'Connell is outstanding. There are so many key players, but my concern from an Irish point of view is if you lose Sexton or O'Connell you could be in trouble.

Their squad is not as deep as some. That's the issue with Ireland.

Naturally, anyone who loses players of the calibre of Sexton or O'Connell will find things a lot tougher - but that's harsh on Paddy Jackson, Ian Madigan, Iain Henderson, and Devin Toner - all of whom are very good players.

Ireland will have to do without O'Connell after the World Cup, but the likes of Peter O'Mahony and Iain Henderson can do a passable impression of the Limerick talisman that Joe Schmidt can still use to get through Ireland's favourable World Cup draw.

While Johnny Sexton is the best outhalf in the northern hemisphere, Conor Murray's ability to control a game would be enough to keep Ireland in a game no matter who is outside him - whilst the passing ability of Madigan or Jackson can get a talented Irish backline motoring.

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How far do you think Ireland would go without O'Connell or Sexton?

[Irish Independent]

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