Rugby | 5 months ago
Without their Lions, Ireland's Test team this summer will look very odd
Opportunity knocks

So now we know.

11 Ireland players are set to don the red jersey and represent the Lions in New Zealand this summer. They are:

Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, CJ Stander, Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne.

While Irish rugby fans will be satisfied with the healthy representation, the loss of 11 key players will definitely test their resources. Add to that injuries to the likes of Ultan Dillane, Tommy Bowe, Jordi Murphy and Dave Kearney and the summer touring squad will look a lot different.

Joe Schmidt has also stated that Munster lock Donnacha Ryan will not be guaranteed an Irish place now that he is destined for a summer move to Racing 92.

There is a dearth of genuine second row options so we are keeping with the experienced heads, although Alan O'Connor (Ulster) and Dave O'Callaghan (Munster) are options too.

Looking to the future, it would be great to see the likes of Adam Byrne, Rory O'Loughlin, Rory Scannell and Dan Leavy all getting a look-in. That's not to say, though, that Ireland can do without the likes of Keith Earls and Jamie Heaslip. Rob Kearney could make it if he recovers from his latest injury.

With all of that in mind, this is the Ireland Test XV we would like to see start against the United States on June 10.

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IRELAND

15. Tiernan O'Halloran
14. Adam Byrne
13. Luke Marshall
12. Rory Scannell
11. Craig Gilroy
10. Joey Carbery
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Donnacha Ryan
5. Devin Toner
6. Josh van der Flier
7. Dan Leavy
8. Jamie Heaslip (captain)

Replacements: James Tracy, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Billy Holland, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Paddy Jackson, Niyi Adeolokun.

Episode 32 of The Hard Yards rugby podcast features Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Ferris and Performance Psychologist Gerry Hussey.


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Ireland, Lions 2017, British and Irish Lions