Wednesday 21 August 2019

On the plane to Japan: The rising and falling stock in Ireland's World Cup squad

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt faces some tough calls as he prepares to whittle his squad down for the World Cup

Rising Stock

Joey Carbery

The best player on the pitch for the 50 minutes he was on. You have to bear in mind the opposition and the occasion in assessing any performance, but the Munster No 10 gave such an assured performance that it was easy to imagine him performing the role in a big World Cup game. Picked his moments a la Owen Farrell and did it well. Ireland need good news on his ankle.

Rhys Ruddock

Captain on the day, the Leinster flanker brought a strong physical element to Ireland's pack play on a day they set out to bully the Italians up front. Ruddock carried lots and lots of dirty ball, hit rucks and made his tackles in a tidy display.

Chris Farrell

Stepped into the No 12 shirt and delivered a ferociously physical performance that makes him very hard to leave out when you consider the nature of the teams Ireland play in the latter half of the group. Ability to layer on a passing game is key. Could play a big role in Japan.

Jean Kleyn

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A strong debut from the South African who carried out his primary duties well, but won't be happy with the maul try. Handling could improve, but he offers a lot.

Andrew Porter

None of the front-row will be unhappy with the way the day went overall, but by getting 20 minutes under his belt at loosehead the young prop took a step towards Japan as the versatile option. Always impactful in the loose.

Falling Stock

Joey Carbery

For 50 minutes, he was pushing himself into a position where he can genuinely rival Johnny Sexton but the sight of the No 10 coming off the field on a stretcher, head in hands, is a distressing one for Joe Schmidt. At the very best, Carbery will miss an important block of training before Japan. At the worst, he’ll miss out altogether. If he does, it’s a major blow for Ireland.

Rob Herring

The race between the three hookers other than Rory Best to make Japan is a tight one and Herring was handed a golden opportunity here. Unfortunately, a back spasm intervened and the Ulster player was withdrawn midway through the first-half. He then had to watch on as Niall Scannell played well.

Devin Toner

One imagines he’s going to Japan regardless, but the big man looked sluggish on his first outing after an injury-hit season. The concession of a maul try won’t sit well with a pack leader, but he’ll get up to speed in time for the tournament.

Jack Carty

The coach was largely positive in his post-match appraisal of the players’ performance, but Carty was singled out for not getting up to the pitch of the game after replacing Carbery. Should get another chance given the injury.

Jack McGrath

Didn’t do much wrong, but he was whipped off at half-time to allow Porter his chance. Scrummaged well, but Dave Kilcoyne can sleep soundly.

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