Joe Schmidt has named his 31-man-squad ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The IRFU brought forward the squad’s publication from its planned announcement next Sunday and includes 12 Munster Players.
Schmidt has opted for a 3:2 fly-half/scrum-half ratio which includes the Munster half-back pairing of Joey Carbery and Conor Murray.
David Kilcoyne cements his place after an excellent first-half performance during Ireland’s 22-17 win over Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, while teammate John Ryan also makes the cut.
Niall Scannell is one of three Hookers named, while recently capped Jean Kleyn and his Munster lock partner Tadhg Beirne have both made the final list.
Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander are among the five back row options being brought to Japan while Chris Farrell earns a spot in the centre. Munster wingers Keith Earls and Andrew Conway get the nod in the back three.
Commenting on the announcement, Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt said:
“It was a difficult thing right from the start to have the 45 that we had. We went down to 40 players and to go from 40 down to 31 was really difficult, but we had a process whereby we looked back through every training, looked through the games.
“There were some guys who obviously had more experience and probably had more credit in the bank and were more established and there were other guys who were trying to force their way into group and trying to get a balance of current form versus previous performance, it’s always a very very difficult conundrum to try to solve.”
Ireland are in Pool A and will play Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa. Ireland’s opening fixture is against Scotland at the Yokohama Stadium in Tokyo on September 22nd at 8:45am Irish time.
Six days later Ireland will take on tournament hosts Japan in Shizuoka before playing Russia in Kobe the following Thursday. Ireland’s final pool game is against Samoa on Saturday 12th in Fukuoka.
The squad is captained by Rory Best who will play at a fourth Rugby World Cup having been involved in the 2007, 2011, and 2015 tournaments.
Click below to see the reasons behind Joe Schmidt’s squad selection.