Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named his 33-man squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Johnny Sexton will captain the side, who enter the tournament as the number one ranked team in the world.
Ireland will be aiming to go past the quarter-finals for the first time in their history but will need to navigate through a tough Pool B, which includes defending champions South Africa, Six Nations rivals Scotland, Tonga and Romania.
Farrell has opted for an 18-15 split in favour of the forwards, with Sexton the most capped player in the squad as he heads to his fourth tournament.
Ireland kick off their campaign on September 9 against Romania in Lyon.
Cian Healy omitted
Prop Cian Healy misses out on the squad after picking up an injury in Ireland’s final warm-up game against Samoa.
Meanwhile, Sexton is joined by Conor Murray and Keith Earls, who are all set to feature in their fourth Rugby World Cup.
Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw and Peter O’Mahony prepare for their third global showpiece.
It is a second tournament for Bundee Aki, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier, who were all involved in Japan four years ago.
The remaining 18 players will all be making their tournament debuts; they are Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Jeremy Loughman, Caelan Doris, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Joe McCarthy, Tom O’Toole and Dan Sheehan and backs Ross Byrne, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Jamison Gibson-Park, Mack Hansen, Hugo Keenan, Stuart McCloskey, James Lowe and Jimmy O’Brien.
“It has been a difficult selection process over the last number of weeks because a squad of 43 players have worked extremely hard throughout an eight-week pre-season period, with the group pushing each other on the pitch and becoming very close off it,” head coach Farrell said.
“As coaches, we are pleased with our 33-player selection and believe we have chosen the right group to represent Ireland in France. It is a hugely exciting time for the group as we prepare to depart for Tours and finalise our preparations for our Rugby World Cup opener against Romania.
“We look forward to the challenges ahead, knowing there is a huge level of support for the team from across the four Provinces, from all those in green around the world and from the thousands who will be in France backing us throughout the tournament.”
Ireland captain Sexton added: “It is a great honour to lead this group of players to the Rugby World Cup. We have been open and honest about our ambitions for the weeks ahead, and with a strong body of work behind us in pre-season, we are looking forward to travelling to France this week to fine-tune our preparations.”
Ireland Rugby World Cup squad
Forwards (18): Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, David Kilcoyne, Jeremy Loughman, Joe McCarthy, Peter O’Mahony, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Josh van der Flier
Backs (15): Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Keith Earls, Jamison Gibson-Park, Mack Hansen, Robbie Henshaw, Hugo Keenan, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Jimmy O’Brien, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton (c)
Ireland’s Rugby World Cup Pool fixtures
Ireland v Romania: Saturday, September 9, Matmut Atlantique
Ireland v Tonga: Saturday, September 16, Stade de la Beaujoire
South Africa v Ireland: Saturday, September 23, Stade de France
Ireland v Scotland: Saturday, October 7, Stade de France
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