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09th Aug 2023

Brian O’Driscoll in two minds on one massive call as he names his Irish Rugby World Cup squad

Niall McIntyre

BOD has put his cards on the table.

There will be arguments for and against, there will be heated debate and conjecture, there will be men left in and there will be men kept out. But ultimately, for all the talk and analysis, the bottom line is that the power lies in the hands of one man. And that man is Andy Farrell.

The rest of us are bystanders.

But there are very few bystanders in Ireland with a rugby opinion as respected as Brian O’Driscoll’s, arguably our greatest ever player.

Well the Leinster and Ireland legend has nailed his colours to the mast today by naming the 33 man squad he would bring to Paris. It goes as follows and we will take you through his big calls below.

HOOKER: Dan Sheehan, Rónan Kelleher, Rob Herring

LOOSEHEAD: Andrew Porter, Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne

TIGHTHEAD: Tadhg Furlong, Finlay Bealham, Tom O’Toole

SECOND ROW: Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Joe McCarthy

BACK ROW: Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris, Jack Conan

SCRUM-HALVES: Jamison Gibson-Park, Conor Murray, Craig Casey

OUT-HALVES: Johnny Sexton, Ross Byrne, Jack Crowley

CENTRES: Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart McCloskey

BACK THREE: Mack Hansen, James Lowe, Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien, Keith Earls/Jacob Stockdale

Those calls above will be debated right up until Monday August 28, when Andy Farrell is due to name his final squad. As per O’Driscoll’s selection, his biggest call is without doubt the nod for Joe McCarthy over Cian Prendergast and Kieran Treadwell.

The USA-born McCarthy is inexperienced at senior level, holding just two caps at senior level, but he did impress against Italy last weekend.

One call O’Driscoll was unable to make, as he explained on Instagram, was the call between Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls. O’Driscoll feels it’s advantage Stockdale at the minute but with two more warm-up games to come, that could change soon.

“Just not quite sure on the call between Stockdale & Earls,” said O’Driscoll on his Instagram. From one pre season outing it’s advantage Stockdale but Earlsy brings a huge amount to the squad in terms of leadership, calmness, vast experience at RWC’s & as a utility player covering 3/4 positions.”

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