Exciting Ireland team we'd love Ireland to start World Cup against Romania 3 weeks ago

Exciting Ireland team we'd love Ireland to start World Cup against Romania

"He's certainly bullish within himself and so are the medics, as well."

Johnny Sexton and his Ireland team were given a rousing welcome by 12,000 rugby fans during an open training session at Stade Vallée du Cher in Tours, on Saturday.


Jamison Gibson-Park led the way with Icelandic 'thunder claps', Sexton jokingly posed with Craig Casey, making out that he was a young mascot, and the players and coaches all looked in good form as they were cheered on, and serenaded, by a mix of Irish fans and eager locals. From Monday on, we are into the serious stuff.

Andy Farrell on injured Irish quartet

During a press conference, on Saturday, with Johnny Sexton by his side, Ireland coach Andy Farrell was asked about the fitness of four injury concerns.


Hooker Dan Sheehan, said Farrell, was 'flying it' and ahead of rehab schedule. "Dan was back running last week," Farrell added. "He was flying along yesterday with the physios and he’s certainly bullish within himself and so are the medics as well." On Jack Conan and Rónan Kelleher, who is yet to play this season, Farrell commented:

"Jack trained yesterday and obviously end-stage rehab is always about being able to back it up the next day, so we'll so how that goes today. Ronan was fit last week so he’s certainly fit to go. He did a full session yesterday so he’ll back that up today."

Farrell said Dave Kilcoyne, who looks to be Andrew Porter's back-up loosehead for the World Cup's big games, is also available for selection for the Romania game. With those updates in mind, we have taken a crack at the Ireland team we would love to see start, next Saturday.

Ireland team The Ireland players thank local supporters after an open training session at Stade Vallée du Cher in Tours, France. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

Ireland team we could start with

Ireland take on Romania, ranked 19 in the world, in Bordeaux for their opening World Cup game. Conscious of the challenges ahead in Pool B, against Tonga (September 16) and South Africa (Sep 23), this Ireland team should be a mix of frontliners and squad players.

Expect the team that starts against Tonga to be close to the one that starts against South Africa the following weekend. For Romania, we will see some combinations that we have seen glimpses of in the warm-ups, in midfield, second row and in the half-backs.


Ryan Baird can play second row, too, but he was good at blindside against Samoa and him starting in the back row allows Farrell to keep the likes of Josh van der Flier and Peter O'Mahony in reserve. Rónan Kelleher may be pressing to start, but Farrell could just go with the Rob Herring and Tom O'Toole combination as they are more used to each other.

Iain Henderson would be the most experienced forward and could captain Ireland for the third time in their last five matches. Elsewhere, Jack Conan should start, if fit, with Jimmy O'Brien given another fullback start, after a tough outing against Samoa.


15. Jimmy O'Brien
14. Mack Hansen
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Keith Earls
10. Jack Crowley
9. Conor Murray

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Rob Herring
3. Tom O'Toole
4. Joe McCarthy
5. Iain Henderson (captain)
6. Ryan Baird
7. Caelan Doris
8. Jack Conan

Ireland will officially name their team to face Romaia on Thursday afternoon.



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