- Dec 3, 2010
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Not going to comment on the front row because props and stuff and 1 and 2 are definitely the hardest to predict.31 one guys to get knocked out in the quarter finals, carry on our proud tradition of not bringing Sale players to the WC and extrapolating on limited data. Oh and also forgetting some players because the provinces have bad websites. Mirroring squad make ups to our previous two.
Props: Tadhg Furlong, Andrew Porter, Thomas Clarkson, Eric O'Sullivan, Peter Dooley - Pretty confident in the tightheads in terms of ability but all three currently being at one club may be too big an obstacle and allow someone like O'Toole a better chance. Loosehead is a crap shoot. There's a few guys who seem to be around the same standard. I do think since switching back to loosehead Milne looks good and Wycherly looked very good at twenties but was a bit underweight so it remains to be seen how he goes at pro level.
Hooker: Niall Scannell, Ronan Kelleher, Shane Delahunt/Dyaln Tierney-Martin - Scannell the most proven option at this point in time, but not very exciting. Hopefully one of the young lads will come along strong.
Locks: James Ryan (C), Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Jack Dunne - St Michael's and friend. Locks can develop weirdly so there's a few players around the country who could be in with a shout. Three from the same squad again probably not super realistic but more so than tighthead. Probably too premature not to include Beirne now that I think of it. Could have Wycherly performing the hybrid role but his height may hold him back.
Backrows: Max Deegan, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Josh Hodnett, Scott Penny - probably too many guys who are technically 8 but think they can cover 6 well enough. If Leavy can come back near where he was he's straight in. Penny still has a lot to prove regarding his size at the highest level. Hodnett is one of those I'm probably extrapolating too much off u20s, the likes of O'Donoghue are obviously more known quantities. Discriminating against those who'll be over 30 due to the attritional nature of the position.
Scrumhalves: Craig Casey, whoever the Leinster scrumhalf is - Hopefully Casey lives up to his potential. Again there's a host of guys who could be there or thereabouts. I'm presuming Marmion goes abroad so Gibson-Park, McGrath and Blade will probably all be in with a shot.
Outhalves: Joey Carberry, Harry Byrne, Ciaran Frawley - I don't think Frawley will end up as a 10, I see him as mostly playing 12 in the future, but he gives a lot of options around a more playmakers in the backline if we want and should be able to cover sufficiently for the group. Flannery might be someone who could also provide that option. If there was any injury doubts to a 10 I'd swap in a more obvious 10 be it Ross or someone like Healy. I see Harry overtaking Ross simply due to being the better athlete. Part of me would like to see Carberry used more at 15 but I don't see it happening.
Centres: Garry Ringrose, Stewart Moore, Conor O'Brien, Sean French - again this is a rather attritional position and given injury history I can't see the likes of Henshaw making it. Again this years u20s show strongly here their depth at centre was insane but so was the injury record. The likes of Hawkshaw and Turner again have more to prove due to their size.
Back three - Jacob Stockdale, Aaron Sexton, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Jimmy O'Brien - The first three I feel are nearly nailed on, Sexton has rare speed that we can't afford to pass up. Lowe depends on a number of things especially his arthritis. O'Brien is my bolter and is partially included because he offers something very different to he others from fullback making us more versatile. There seems to be a lot of young wings in the country and wing is the one position I think picking on form is actually a priority so could well see the likes of Nash, Wren, Lyttle, Balcounne, Lowry, Keenan and Byrne involved.
This squad will probably be shown to be completely stupid within two years but they way things stand now I think it would be a very dynamic squad with strong carriers in the pack and a lot of strikerunners out wide. Also laughably Leinster biased at the moment but I'm sure the other provinces will have done their shopping by 2023 so it'll look different . I did err too much on the side of youth an am more familiar with the young Leinster players. Looking at the age profile of Munster they're in for a lot of change. Only 10 from this tournament's squad but we had a high age profile and I can see careers becoming shorter
Second rows are a good shout, Beirne, Dillane and Kleyn probably all have what it takes to be a bench option at least but they'll have to show more. Wycherley is a buck who could be huge for us.
Backrow - Deego and VdF are almost dead certs in my opinion. Conan and Leavy will be a huge boost if they make it. Hodnett, Doris and Penny are anyone's guess, Jack O'Donoghue could do with making a statement sometime soon too.
9s - Casey could do with moving province and not being 4th/5th choice. Luke McGrath needs to grow up a bit. Fetish and Blade are fairly big standard. Murray was never really quick enough so a 34 year old isn't an option.
10s. This is where I start disagreeing with you. I think it'll be Byrne x 2 or Carty ahead of Ross and Carbery. I don't think it's an outrageous prediction to say Frawley won't ever be a Leinster starter, there's currently three better 10s, two better 12s and a David Hawkshaw who'll be better at both to contend with, Frawley will do well to ever play for Ireland.
Centres - Henshaw (he'll only be 30 and younger than both Welsh centres were this year) and Ringrose are nailed on imo. Hawkshaw, O'Brien, French, Moore, C Farrell and Addison will hopefully all be about too.
Back Three - This is where it starts getting really difficult, there could be school kids who'll be playing at the next world cup and it's probably the biggest stylistic call! Stockdale and Larmour are probably certs. Sexton, Lowe, Lowry, Daly, Addison, Byrne and Haley could all be in with a shout too. I'd have Carbery covering both brackets too.
I think my age cap is 31 there. I don't really see who we can bring older than that. The pessimist in me says that POM, Murray, Healy and CJ will be given every chance and we'll stick with Sexton too long but they've all been on the wain this year or longer and I don't want to see any of them by autumn 2021. No doubt at least one of them will make it though.