This is the Ireland team that should start the First Test against Australia 4 years ago

This is the Ireland team that should start the First Test against Australia

"I'd just say I'm delighted with today, we are where we are and when they come back in two and a half months time to get together we will know where we need to go next."

A couple of hours after Ireland's Grand Slam win, Joe Schmidt was asked if this was the best Ireland squad he had ever assembled. Rather than looking back for too long, he looked ahead to this summer and Australia.


"We'll play in very different conditions in Australia," he said. "Australia will be hugely motivated to bounce back from what's been a relatively tough time for them and get a really good start in preparation for their Rugby Championship."

Schmidt is of the firm belief that the seeds of Ireland's recent success were sown on the summer tours to South Africa [2016], Japan and America [2017] and that 2018 will be of massive benefit to his current crop.

That being said, the Kiwi appears to have the core of his World Cup squad already in mind and is now making tweaks and bringing in top prospects [Tadhg Beirne and Ross Byrne]. All of the top players that led Ireland to a Grand Slam, and who are fit, are travelling Down Under.


Looking ahead to that First Test, in Brisbane on June 9, we are going with a strong starting XV and putting some top talents on the bench. Joey Carbery will have to wait for a go of that No.10 jersey while we are having another look at the Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose combination to give Robbie Henshaw a proper run at getting fit.

Schmidt confirmed that Ireland captain Rory Best would miss the tour after failing to recover from injury so Munster's Niall Scannell has been drafted in.

Have a look and let us know what you think:



15. Rob Kearney

14. Keith Earls
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale

10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Cian Healy
2. Sean Cronin
3. Tadhg Furlong

4. James Ryan
5. Iain Henderson

6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Dan Leavy
8. CJ Stander

Replacements: Rob Herring, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, John Cooney, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.

*Updated from piece first published on March 20th 2018