What are Ireland’s Prospects for the 2023 World Cup?

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What are Ireland’s Prospects for the 2023 World Cup?

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No Irish rugby fan can forget the bitter disappointment when the team was so resoundingly beaten by New Zealand in the quarter-final of the 2019 World Cup. After all, the very convincing victories over Scotland, Russia and Samoa suggested we were firmly in the winning habit – but the Kiwis simply proved to be too strong.

But, as the saying goes, “there’s always next time” and the fact that Ireland have automatically qualified for the 2023 World Cup in France takes away a level of uncertainty and puts Andy Farrell in a good position to start planning what the team line-up might be in three years’ time.

The tournament itself promises to be quite a spectacle as well as being a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the year in which Robert Webb Ellis so famously first picked up the ball and heralded the invention of the game.

Already, it’s possible to place a bet on how Ireland might perform in 2023 and, given the relatively rosy outlook for the team the odds of 10/1 given by Space Casino in the middle of March 2020 certainly seem like a good price, as well as one that may well shorten as the tournament grows closer.

Front Row At The Ruck” (CC BY 2.0) by Unofficial England Rugby
There are many of the players of the current squad who are very likely to feature in Farrell’s plans. One certain to have a central role is Jordan Larmour. He’s certainly a player who knows how to hit the headlines and, provided he’s injury-free, he should be at his prime when the tournament takes place. Other players who will also, hopefully, be at the peak of their playing careers in 2023 include Garry Ringrose, Andrew Porter and James Ryan.

We can also rest assured that some up and coming stars will be pressing their case for inclusion in the team and, as has been so often the case, many have come up through the Leinster schools system.

The first of these is Rónan Kelleher, the young hooker who has represented Ireland no less than 11 times at Under 20s level and made his first appearance in the national team as a replacement in the 2020 Six Nations match against Scotland in February. However, Kelleher also faces strong competition for the position from team-mate Dan Sheehan who may not have the experience of the former quite yet, but is showing great promise.

Three years is quite a long time so there’s also the chance of a number of wild-card would-be debutants featuring in the squad. Some of these may even be drawn from the 75 young players who were selected to attend the IRFU High Performance Centre back in August 2019.

So, it all adds up to the fact that the prospects are looking reasonably good for France 2023. And, with the right support and development, it could also be the perfect launchpad for starting to develop a whole new generation of players.

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