Wednesday 18 September 2019

Chris Farrell backs 'fantastic' project players to star for Ireland at World Cup


Bundee Aki of Ireland on the squad's arrival in Hanada Airport in Tokyo
Bundee Aki of Ireland on the squad's arrival in Hanada Airport in Tokyo
Rising sons: Jonathan Sexton and Garry Ringrose make their way through Hanada Airport in Tokyo as the Ireland rugby squad arrived in Japan for the World Cup. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Chris Farrell has backed team-mates Bundee Aki, CJ Stander and Jean Kleyn to star for Ireland at the World Cup in Japan.

The trio, who qualified to represent their adopted country via World Rugby's residency rules, have been in the spotlight again this week after former Ireland international Luke Fitzgerald claimed that Garry Ringrose should be in the starting team ahead of Aki because he was born in Ireland.

His comments came in light of the public outcry that followed Kleyn's selection ahead of second-row stalwart Devin Toner in Ireland's 31-man World Cup squad

Speaking on The Left Wing,'s rugby podcast, Fitzgerald said: "They're going to pick a 16-stone guy who's just a big lump, albeit an excellent player, ahead of him (Ringrose). He shouldn't be in that team. The guy is literally a blow-in."

Farrell, who is directly competing with Aki for a spot in Ireland's midfield, offered his more positive take on the situation.

"Those two (Aki and Stander), in particular, have done so much for not only Irish rugby, but their provinces," said Farrell, whose comments were made prior to Fitzgerald's controversial remarks.

"I've walked down the streets of Galway with Bundee and it's chaos. He's such a leader down there and has done so much for the province.

"CJ is no different in Munster. They've been here for a long, long time and their families have grown up here.

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"CJ has had a baby girl here and they really have fitted in so well.

"They add so much to the team. JK (Kleyn) will be no different whenever he settles in for a longer period. I think it's fantastic to have them."

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