Sport Rugby World Cup

Saturday 24 March 2018

English newspaper names three Irish players in their dream 31-man Rugby World Cup squad

Jonathan Sexton and Paul O'Connell make it
Jonathan Sexton and Paul O'Connell make it Newsdesk Newsdesk

With all 20 teams competing at this autumn's Rugby World Cup due to name their 31-man squads for the competition in the coming weeks, the Daily Telegraph has chosen the best squad from all the players competing.

Their writer Steve James opted for an 18-13 split between forwards and packs and chose six props, three of each rather than choose a utility prop who can play on both sides of the front row.

Only Paul O'Connell, Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton make the 31 from Joe Schmidt's team, which is dominated by Southern Hemisphere players.

He paid a very high compliment to Sexton: "At the moment I might pick him ahead of Dan Carter. That says everything. Crucial to Ireland."

Only on England player make the 31.

Here is the squad in full:

BACK THREE: Israel Folau (Australia), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Ben Smith (New Zealand), Julian Savea (New Zealand), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Australia).

CENTRES: Ma'a Nonu (New Zealand), Tevita Kuridrani (Australia), Matt Toomua (Australia)

FLY-HALVES: Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Dan Carter (New Zealand)

SCRUM-HALVES: Aaron Smith (New Zealand), Conor Murray (Ireland), Rhys Webb (Wales)

LOOSE-HEAD PROPS: Joe Marler (England), Marcos Ayerza (Argentina), Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)

TIGHT-HEAD PROPS: Dan Cole (England), Nicolas Mas (France), Owen Franks (New Zealand)

HOOKERS: Agustin Creevy (Argentina), Dane Coles (New Zealand), Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)

LOCKS: Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), Paul O'Connell (Ireland)

BACK ROWS: Richie McCaw (New Zealand), Kieran Read (New Zealand), Jerome Kaino (New Zealand), Duane Vermeulen (South Africa), David Pocock (Australia)

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