Thursday 21 February 2019

No room for D'Arcy in BOD's dream team for World Cup

15 August 2015; Gordon D'Arcy, Ireland. Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match. Ireland v Scotland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
15 August 2015; Gordon D'Arcy, Ireland. Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match. Ireland v Scotland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Tom Rooney

Brian O'Driscoll has joined the rest of the nation in speculating what players Joe Schmidt will bring to the World Cup, and he does not think the man whom he partnered in the Irish midfield on 63 occasions will make the grade.

Ahead of the announcement tomorrow of Joe Schmidt's final 31-man panel, the former Lions captain published on his own website what he believes will be the Kiwi's selection for the upcoming tournament.

Notably, there was no room for Gordon D'Arcy, his provincial and international team-mate for 15 seasons, who has been ousted as Ireland's primary first centre by Robbie Henshaw since O'Driscoll's retirement just over a year ago.

The former Ireland captain also believes Munster's Felix Jones and his former Leinster team-mate Marty Moore will miss out.

O'Driscoll cited Moore's lack of game time as to why Schmidt could take Nathan White in his stead. He would, however, risk Cian Healy, another one of Ireland's props struggling for fitness.

He believes Healy is worth the gamble because of his ball-carrying prowess and the potential impact he could have off the bench, such as he had in Ireland's successful Six Nations title defence this year.

Knocks

Despite sustaining knocks in the loss to Wales at the weekend, Ireland's record try-scorer reckons Schmidt will bring Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald, though not Andrew Trimble, whose foot injury continues to be a source of concern.

He's also given Simon Zebo the nod and Isaac Boss, despite his patchy form and last week's rumour that the coaching staff were considering taking only two specialist scrum-halves to England and Wales.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Group D opponents Italy continued their poor preparations with an abject 48-7 defeat against Scotland.

Scotland got the better of the Italians for the second time in a week by scoring six tries, with Rory Lamont and Tim Visser each crossing the whitewash twice, in addition to five-pointers from John Barclay and Mark Bennett.

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