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31st Dec 2022

Garry Ringrose and Hugo Keenan the biggest movers in ‘Top 20 Irish rugby players’ list

Patrick McCarry

ireland team

We have one newcomer, some big jumpers and one man zooming up the rankings.

2022 in Irish rugby will undoubtedly be remembered as the year Ireland did a number on the All Blacks, and the year of Josh van der Flier. His Leinster and Ireland teammate, Garry Ringrose, is finishing on a CHARGE, though.

Welcome to the third edition of our ‘Top 20 Irish rugby players’ list. We started off after the Six Nations, in March, and updated our rankings after that victorious tour to New Zealand, in July.

With the Autumn Nations Series well wrapped, Ireland finishing the year as World No.1 and a seismic 2023 ahead, we are revisiting and updating our rankings. The full list is below but get ready to see a significant Ringrose jump.

On House of Rugby [LISTEN from 33:30], Leinster and Ireland star Jimmy O’Brien told Greg O’Shea and Lindsay Peat about playing alongside Garry Ringrose, and his growing leadership nous.

irish rugbyGarry Ringrose, left, and Dave Kilcoyne of Ireland after their fourth try against Scotland, in March 2022. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

Garry Ringrose climbs into Leinster dominated Top 5

With Johnny Sexton [271 minutes played, so far, this season] being carefully managed, Garry Ringrose has taken on the Leinster captaincy on a more regular basis. O’Brien said his team-talk at half-time in a recent Champions Cup win over Gloucester focused the team on going full tilt even though they held a huge lead, heading into the second half.

The House of Rugby crew have already earmarked the Dubliner as the man to replace Sexton as Ireland captain after the 2023 World Cup. Ringrose showed his value to Ireland, too, in the Autumn Nations as he played inside and outside centre roles during the wins over South Africa and Australia.

Elsewhere, Jimmy O’Brien is a newcomer, at 18, after playing outside centre, fullback and winger against the Springboks, Fiji and Australia. Hugo Keenan and Mack Hansen are two players whose value to Andy Farrell’s side increased since the start of 2022/23.

Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki – respectively missing big minutes due to injury and suspension – were the biggest fallers but both will be key figures for Ireland’s 2023 ambitions. Tadhg Furlong may have only logged 73 minutes for Leinster, this season, but his three November starts, and his importance to the team, have him ranking highly.


20. Cian Healy (same position)

19. Jack Conan (down two)

18. Jimmy O’Brien*

irish rugby

17. Bundee Aki (down three)

16. Finlay Bealham (up two)

15. James Lowe (down two)

14. Robbie Henshaw (down seven)

13. Mack Hansen (up three)

12. James Ryan (down two)

11. Dan Sheehan (up one)

10. Peter O’Mahony (down one)

Peter O'Mahony

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (down three)

8. Andrew Porter (same position)

7. Hugo Keenan (up four)

6. Caelan Doris (down one)

5. Garry Ringrose (up 10)

4. Tadhg Beirne (down one)

3. Tadhg Furlong (down one)

2. Josh van der Flier (up two)

1. Johnny Sexton (same position)

Irish rugby

*Indicates first time on the list

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