Kleyn named in Ireland World Cup squad
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: The Ireland coaching group have named the 31 man squad that will travel to Japan on the September 11 to compete at Rugby World Cup 2019.
The squad is captained by Rory Best who will play at a fourth Rugby World Cup having been involved in the 2007, 2011, 2015 editions.
Six of the squad named featured at the previous two Rugby World Cups (2011 & 2015) – Sean Cronin, Keith Earls, Cian Healy, Rob Kearney, Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, while a further five played in the 2015 tournament – Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw, Peter O’Mahony and Rhys Ruddock.
The remaining 19 players will be making their Rugby World Cup debuts – Bundee Aki, Tadgh Beirne, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Jack Conan, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Dave Kilcoyne, Jean Kleyn, Jordan Larmour, Luke McGrath, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Garry Ringrose, Jacob Stockdale and Josh van der Flier.
Meanwhile, there are a few high profile omissions. Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion and Will Addison have all failed to make Joe Schmidt’s final 31-man squad for Japan.
Toner’s omission will come as the biggest surprise, with the 67-time capped lock a regular feature in Schmidt’s squads to date. However, he has paid the ultimate price following an injury disrupted end to the season with Leinster.
The big beneficiary of Toner’s exclusion in Jean Kleyn, who only became eligible to play for Ireland last month. The versatile Munster player can cover both lock and the back row.
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.
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.
Ireland play Wales in the final game of th Series 2019 at Aviva Stadium on Saturday – tickets are on sale from ticketmaster.ie – click here to buy.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt commented: “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.
“It was one of those typical selection meetings where maybe 20-25 of the players are listed straight away and it’s those ones where you’re are trying to get balance where it’s very difficult to choose between two players and two players offer slightly different things and you’re trying then to narrow down and trying to get the best balance across the squad of the entire 31 because that’s part of what you need to do because you’ve got to make sure you have cover that’s immediate even though you can replace players there is obviously a big time delay in that.”
Forwards: Rory Best, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Sean Croni, Tadhg Furlong , Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne, Iain Henderson, Jean Kleyn, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier.
Backs: Bundee Aki, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw , Rob Kearneym, Jordan Larmour, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale