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05th Dec 2014

This is what the Irish rugby team might look like at the 2023 World Cup

Hopefully we'll be cheering them on home soil.

Joe Harrington

Hopefully we’ll be cheering them on home soil.

The IRFU formally announced its intention this morning to submit a bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

We’ve dusted off the old crystal ball and come up with the possible starting XV that will line out for Ireland in that competition.

Here’s what the player profiles of the starting team might look like in 2023.

1. Jack McGrath, age 34 (Leinster)

McGrath has been in command of the number one jersey since overthrowing Cian Healy back in the day.

Jack has fought off every challenger since and is considered one of the best loose heads in the world. DJs on weekends off under the name ProperSynagogue.

2. Niall Scannell, age 31 (Munster)

The Cork man has been a mainstay in the Red jersey since he let his hair grow out like Jerry Flannery four years ago.

‘Samson,’ as he’s affectionately known, has the most consistent line-out throw in the country. A leader on and off the park.

3. Tadhg Furlong, age 31 (Leinster)

The Wexford man’s revolutionary diet of just strawberries, which he introduced in 2017, changed his career. Furlong transformed from bit-part player to being a key member of the pack.

4. Dave Foley, age 35 (Munster)

The oldest member of the team but still as effective as when he became the dominant figure in the Munster pack after Paul O’Connell retired. A vital cog in the machine.

Dave Foley with Rob Simmons 22/11/2014

5. Sean O’Brien, age 29 (Connacht)

The Galway Goliath forced his way into the management’s plans with some stunning displays in Heineken Challenge of European Champions Championship Cup. The government also pushed for his inclusion because of his red hair.

6. CJ Stander, age 33 (Munster)

The South African born back-row has trampled over all of his competition for the number six jersey this season.

He’ll fulfill a boyhood dream of representing his adopted country at a World Cup after missing 2019 because of injury.

His wife Jean-Marié Neethling swam to gold for Ireland at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

7. Iain Henderson, age 31 (Ulster)

Hendo came back from his spell in France and re-acclimatised back at Ulster seamlessly. He’s the outstanding back-row in the country and will be vital to our hopes of winning on home soil.

Iain Henderson 7/6/2014

8. Jordi Murphy, age 32 (Leinster)

The man who was born in Spain has been like a bull running down the streets of Pamplona in his pursuit of success.

Joe Schmidt has been the matador to guide him in the right direction. A real weapon in Ireland’s armoury.

9. Kieran Marmion, age 31 (Connacht)

The Connacht man’s game has gone to the next level and in the process he’s displaced Conor Murray as Ireland’s scrum half.

Murray’s experience from the bench will be important, but Marmion’s speed and accuracy makes him a starter.

10. Paddy Jackson, age 31 (Ulster)

Paddy’s had a hell of a year with his Jay-Z produced rap album going to number one in the charts and now he’s the man who holds the key to Ireland’s World Cup hopes.

Paddy Jackson 8/2/2014

11. Mighty Okafor, age 27 (Munster)

Ireland’s record try-scorer, who came to prominence with Bandon in West Cork back in 2013, is one of the most exciting talents in world rugby.

His rise has been remarkable and Schmidt’s secret tactic called “Lookafor Mighty” plays to the player’s strength.

12. Stuart McCloskey, age 31 (Ulster)

A battering ram whose try celebration of going on all fours and making a “baa” noise has given him a cult following.

It was voted as Ireland’s best try celebration ahead of Simon Zebo’s Z and Jonny Sexton’s manic scream. A great player too.

13. Robbie Henshaw, age 30 (Connacht)

The poster boy of Irish rugby has somehow managed to balance being the best player in the country and his modelling career with Michael Guiney’s. He’s THE key man if we hope to lift the World Cup.

IrelandÕs Robbie Henshaw  8/11/2014

14. Sam Coghlan-Murray, age 31 (Leinster)

A double-barrel name with a double-barrel approach. Coghlan-Murray is an all-round brilliant winger with a love of attacking and lust for defending. Sam has all the attributes to be one of the stars of the tournament.

15. JJ Hanrahan, age 31 (Munster)

JJ is the Birdseye potato waffles of Irish rugby because he’s so versatile but he’s more than capable playing well at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

His dual commitments with the Kerry footballers caused controversy but Hanrahan’s haul of three All-Irelands and two PRO12 titles is proof he can handle it.

Coach: Joe Schmidt

Schmidt has guided the country to ten Six Nation titles in a row and is the most highly decorated coach in the history of the sport. The man guarantees success and winning the World Cup is his target.

It’s a good year off the field for Joe as well, after he was anointed as the new patron saint of Ireland.

schmidt st pat