Ireland’s lack of pro-Ireland idols is a big worry with the World Cup in mind


Last week, when it became clear that Andrew Porter would no longer be participating in this year’s Six Nations, it was reported that Ireland did not immediately call in a replacement to join the two-day camp.

With only two sporadic players left – Cian Healy and Dave Kilcoyne – left in the squad preparing for England this weekend, Ireland are too pale in their options to avoid having to reserve.

The problem Andy Farrell faces, however, is that judging by his depth chart, there is no clear substitute to cover up Porter, who has been out for eight weeks with an ankle injury. .

Rather than draft someone to train with, Ireland’s coaches decided to wait until after the last round of the United Rugby Championship (URC), to the nod of their supporters. Munster, Jeremy Loughman. Not only has Loughman never played for Ireland, but these past few days have been his first international appearance.

If Healy or Kilcoyne goes down this week, it will make Ireland The predicament is heading for Twickenham.

This is not the excavation of a similar replacement that has been prepared for Porter, but rather points to a larger problem that Ireland appears to be sleepwalking, as next year’s World Cup looms large.

As much as there was an increasing reliance on Tadhg Furlong, Porter became important to Ireland’s expansive approach. The current scenario is a major caveat.

Healy will turn 36 in the World Cup, Kilcoyne will only be 35. Both are experienced players who are likely to hold out against England on Saturday, but it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture. more scene.

We’ve seen how Ireland is so dependent on Porter and Furlong as they both played 72 minutes in Paris recently, and all that is not easy to replace two such world-class operators, just need to look at the quality of props like France and South Africa have in reserve.

During his tenure, Farrell restrained Leinster’s Ed Byrne and Ulster’s Eric O’Sullivan, however both laxers fell on dissection orders, which opened the door for Loughman.

The Athy native is stuck behind Kilcoyne in Munster and for all he is a solid operator at the provincial level, the Six Nations is a huge step forward.

Moving the Porter back to a loose form will always change the depth chart. Not yet, while Ireland’s new-looking dynamic front row with Furlong and Rónan Kelleher is getting rave reviews, there are concerns behind the scenes.

Finlay Bealham has become Furlong’s deputy, with Tom O’Toole’s breakthrough stalling. The fact that Bealham is the only player of the eight qualified Irish players in the restricted Connacht squad is part of the problem.

Connacht supporters will tell you Denis Buckley (31) should have long since closed but that ship may have sailed for the veteran Roscommon man.

In Leinster, Michael Milne (23) and Thomas Clarkson (22) are highly rated, but in terms of props it usually takes a while to mature, and given the fact that neither of them are first-team regulars, It is probably unrealistic to expect them to compete for the World Cup next year.

Yet it is exactly what Irish rugby needs, as Farrell and his coach John Fogarty hope. someone from the younger brigade can make their choice over the next 18 months.

Loughman will face competition for his spot on the Munster team from Josh Wycherley, with Liam O’Connor looking to return to his career after a difficult time with injury.

On the discreet side, Roman Salanoa has have been unable to put a consistent streak of fitness together, while Keynan Knox has yet to be trusted in the big games.

In the north, the form of veteran duo Jack McGrath and Marty Moore makes sense Players like O’Sullivan and O’Toole have not been able to reach the full potential that many had hoped for.

McGrath’s timely return has been a huge boost to Ulster, as has Moore’s consistency, but so far, neither of them have been on Farrell’s radar.

To some extent, the Irish head coach’s hands are tied, as he can legitimately point out the lack of clear options, which is why he is so frequent changed his spare loose heads.

The main outsider is Oli Jager and while the Crusader man has been linked with a return to Ireland, the Newbridge and Blackrock alumni have made no secret of their desire to represent All Blacks.

IRFU will certainly monitor the situation, as the union will monitor Ireland’s eligible players globally, while ensuring Their own path back home is nurturing emerging talent.

With Porter and Furlong setting new standards in props, expect more young players to want to follow in their footsteps in a position that isn’t always so flashy.

More pressure, Farrell knows Injuries always play a part at the 2023 World Cup and he has to be prepared for any possible outcome. But for now, it’s hard not to worry about the quality of Ireland’s prop depth chart.

Eligible Irish Props in Provincial Teams


Shaggy hair (age, hat)
Denis Buckley (31.0)
Matthew Burke (25, 0)
Jordan Duggan (24, 0)
Greg McGrath (25, 0)

Finlay Bealham (30, 21)
Jack Aungier (23.0)
Dominic Robertson-McCoy (28, 0)
Sam Illo (21.0)


Loose head
Andrew Porter (26, 43)
Cian Healy (34, 114)
Ed Byrne (28, 6)
Peter Dooley (27, 0)
Michael Milne (23.0)

Tadhg Furlong (29, 55)
Vakh Abdaladze (26, 0)
Thomas Clarkson (22.0)


Loose head
Dave Kilcoyne (33, 46)
Jeremy Loughman (26, 0)
Liam O’Connor (26, 0)
Josh Wycherley (22.0)

Stephen Archer (34, 2)
John Ryan (33, 24)
Keynan Knox (22.0)
Roman Salanoa (24, 0)
James French (23.0)


Loose head
Jack McGrath (32, 56)
Eric O’Sullivan (26, 1)
Andrew Warwick (30, 0)
Callum Reid (23.0)

Marty Moore (31, 10)
Tom O’Toole (23, 2)
Gareth Milasinovich (29.0)
Ross Kane (27, 0) Ireland’s lack of pro-Ireland idols is a big worry with the World Cup in mind

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