Bolter Furlong set to get nod as Schmidt to take scrum-half gamble
TADHG FURLONG appears to have made a successful late charge into Ireland’s World Cup squad and is set to be named by Joe Schmidt who confirms his 31-man panel tomorrow.
The Wexford native only made his international debut off the bench last Saturday against Wales but looks like being chosen ahead of Michael Bent and Marty Moore, with the coach surprisingly set to bring three tighthead props in Furlong, Nathan White and Mike Ross and two looseheads in Cian Healy and Jack McGrath.
That’s despite concerns over Healy’s fitness and should mean the Leinster star making a return to action off the bench against England this weekend. Moore misses out after picking up a foot injury which has kept him out of action so far this season, having had shoulder surgery at the end of last season.
Schmidt also looks set to take a chance on bringing two scrum-halves in order to allow Darren Cave provide cover at centre, while Andrew Trimble and Felix Jones could be squeezed out in the competitive back-three area as Keith Earls, Dave Kearney, Tommy Bowe and Luke Fitzgerald get the nod.
Schmidt is expected to provide an update on Earls and Fitzgerald tomorrow after both came off against Wales. Earls is the biggest concern after he needed a scan to assess the extent of his facial injuries, while Fitzgerald suffered a glute injury.
Schmidt is set to name his squad before lunchtime on Tuesday. The players were told last night and trained today at Carton House.
Possible Ireland squad for the 2015 World Cup:
Forwards: Rory Best, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Paul O’Connell (capt), Jamie Heaslip, Chris Henry, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, Nathan White.
Backs: Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Dave Kearney, Rob Kearney, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, Ian Madigan, Conor Murray, Jared Payne, Eoin Reddan, Johnny Sexton, Simon Zebo.