A Look At The Ridiculous Depth Irish Rugby Now Has In Each Position

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Teams don’t win World Cup’s, squads do.

Joe Schmidt has now been in charge of Ireland for just over three years. In that time he has brought Ireland two six nations titles, lead them to a Rugby World Cup quarter final and defeated the All Blacks for the first time in 111 years.

Three men are set to make their test debuts this weekend, with several more set to debut from the bench. That brings Joe Schmidt’s list of player’s he’s handed debuts to since he took to over to more than thirty.

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For Joe Schmidt, along with the likes of David Nucifora, while working hand in hand with the province’s, the goal over the past three years and looking forward to the 2019 Rugby World Cup has been- to build a squad worthy of competing with the very best.

Over the years the top tier one nations have made this a priority. Just look at New Zealand and England right now, and the kind of depth that exists within those nations. Ireland may not have the same resources and pools of players that those two country’s have, but they’re doing a damn good job of build a squad nonetheless.

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Coaches like Declan Kidney and Eddie O’Sullivan were criticised for relying on their starting XV too often and the criticism was bang on. Very rarely did Ireland have genuine depth in almost any position, bar maybe back-row, which has never been an issue for the Irish over the years.

Looking at the current crop of players, the depth that exists is frightening. We’ve thrown in a few extra un-capped players too that we think aren’t that far away from a call-up, just to show you the kind of talent at Joe Schmidt’s proposal. We’ve also included some players in two categories to illustrate their utility.

Rory Best, Jack McGrath and Mike Ross 22/11/2014

Loosehead

Jack McGrath
Cian Healy
Dave Kilcoyne
James Cronin

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Hooker

Rory Best
Sean Cronin
James Tracy
Niall Scannell

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Tighthead

Tadgh Furlong
John Ryan
Finlay Bealham

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Second-row

Devin Toner
Ultan Dillane
Iain Henderson
Donnacha Ryan
Billy Holland
Mike McCarthy
Ian Nagle
Quinn Roux

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Backrow

CJ Stander
Jamie Heaslip
Peter O’Mahony
Josh van der Flier
Sean O’Brien
Jordi Murphy
Tommy O’Donnell
Dan Leavy
Jack O’Donoghue
Rhys Ruddock

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Scrumhalf

Conor Murray
Kieran Marmion
Luke McGrath

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Outhalf

Johnny Sexton
Joey Carbery
Ian Madigan
Paddy Jackson
Tyler Bleyendall (2017)

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Centre

Robbie Henshaw
Garry Ringrose
Luke Marshall
Jared Payne
Stuart Olding
Stuart McCloskey
Keith Earls
Rory Scannell
Bundee Aki (2017)

Simon Zebo scores their fourth try 5/11/2016

Wing

Simon Zebo
Andrew Trimble
Tommy Bowe
Keith Earls
Craig Gilroy
Darren Sweetnam
Niyi Adeolukun
Matt Healy
Dave Kearney

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Fullback

Rob Kearney
Simon Zebo
Tieran O’Halloran
Jared Payne

There’s probably more players that we’ve missed, so be sure to let us know in the social comments. Either way, Ireland are shaping up quite well ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Will they finally break the duct and win a quarter final? Stranger things have happened, just ask the All Blacks.

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