Ireland Player Profiles
Profiles and statistics for members of the Ireland squad.
Cheeky, diminutive, gutsy, feisty, durable. Takes knocks well and is seldom injured. He has a risky pass - he doesn't take a step before passing as Boss does, using a flick pass instead. His relationship with O'Gara at out half is telepathic. Has a good box kick. Doesn't break around the fringes (aside from that try in the Heineken Cup final last year).
Position Scrum Half
Points 30 Tries 6
Not a big player, but he plays the power role in his centre pairing with O'Driscoll. He has the ability to be a creative player but also has nimble feet and the power required to break the gain line. A worry from the August games is he is playing slightly deep which would allow opposing defences to stifle his advance and negate his impact.
Points 20 Tries 4
Fields high balls well, tackles well, dependable, O'Sullivan's preferred choice for the position but that could change if Murphy does well in the opening pool games against weak opposition. Dempsey can do attack as well as defence and has blossomed since becoming Ireland's first choice. Likely to remain first choice.
Position Full Back
Points 85 Tries 17
Murphy has struggled to find a steady position in the Irish squad because Eddie O'Sullivan prefers a more traditional, dependable full back. Murphy is willing to try the impossible at times. With the current line up Murphy presents a better attacking option at full back than Dempsey. Good substitute option for wing three quarter, full back and even centre.
Position Full Back
Points 93 Tries 17 Conversions 1 Penalties 1 Drop Kicks 1
There are faster wingers in the world game, but few as clever in the position. A great finisher, who looks after the guys inside him and brings experience to Ireland's back line. Other players in the locker room think very highly of him. Hickie has great pace which is what is needed for a winger and has bulked up significantly in the professional era.
Points 145 Tries 29
Has had a couple of smashing seasons for Ireland, having been converted to the wing from centre. At 6'4” and with good GAA-like fielding skills, Horgan offers O'Gara another good aerial target. Defensively Horgan is very strong – a player who manages to run past him will certainly not do so a second time.
Points 100 Tries 20
One of rugby's great players. A superbly balanced footballer and a cheeky player, full of confidence. His centre of gravity drops like a hover craft which means that although there are bigger back line players, he is extremely hard to tackle. In addition, he is quick over the first five to ten metres.
Points 157 Tries 29 Drop Kicks 4
Just behind Carter and Larkham as the best out half in the world. Perhaps the best kicker in the world at present. He has developed a skillful pass off both sides, is an accurate goal kicker and a great reader of the game. Perceived shortcomings in defence. If Ireland progress through the competition, O'Gara could emerge as one of the stars of the World Cup.
Position Fly Half
Points 742 Tries 13 Conversions 115 Penalties 140 Drop Kicks 9
He had a superb season with Wasps where he won a European final. An exciting intelligent player, with plenty of pace and quick off the mark. An exciting prospect for Ireland and will probably leap frog Isaac Boss into Ireland's second choice scrum-half behind Peter Stringer. He possibly could be there now although Eddie O'Sullivan has given Boss more game time in the August tests.
Position Scrum Half
He played Gaelic football in Wicklow, rugby in Clongowes and then Lansdowne and then became a professional rugby league player, playing for Wigan and then Great Britain. Then he returned to his home place in Cork and signed to play rugby union for Munster. Very talented but little union experience.
Will feature in the first two games and is a better outside option than Gavin Duffy. Is a good footballer. Doesn't have the same creative flare that O'Driscoll or D'Arcy have but is the next best thing in the Ireland squad at the moment. Big strong hard running. Can play in either position. Unlikely to start against France and Argentina.
Has been Ireland's second place scrum half after Peter Stringer. He is an impressive substitute, great break, speed and good pass. He was born in New Zeland, he qualifies to play for Ireland because his grandmother was form in Glenarm, Co Antrim. He scored a memorable try for Ireland against England at Croke Park. Was second in the ranking, may end up third.
Position Scrum Half
Another versatile member of the squad, can play at centre, wing three quarter and full back (he has played for Ireland in all three positions). He scored a try for Ireland in his debut against Scotland in February 2005. formerly he played Gaelic football for is native Mayo. Plays club rugby with NEC Harlequins.
Position Full Back
The back up for Ronan O'Gara but hardly in the same league, which means that if O'Gara is injured Ireland is in big trouble. Wallace can play at outhalf, centre or full back but has very limited senior international experience although he has been in the squad since 2002.
Position Fly Half
A good hooker, throws well for the line out. Not as dynamic as Flannery or Sheahan, but the scrum is more solid when he is involved. Best will feature prominently in the World Cup, but Flannery will probably start the key games. What will happen in the scrum? Remember how Ireland were hammered in the front row during the Italy game.
Along with Leamy and Quinlan, Best is one of those loose forwards who bristle with aggression and love defending. Great around the fringes of rucks and mauls as he demonstrated in the game against France in the Six Nations where he was instrumental to Ireland nearly winning that game.
A respected, quiet member of the squad who gets his job done. An excellent line out jumper and a superb defender, but is probably not as dynamic or bone crunching as Jerry Collins or Sebastian Chabal. But he is vital to the Irish pack as an old fashioned loose forward who puts in the hard graft.
He would have been expected to see more game time against Italy. Had a fantastic game against Argentina when he hooked well and carried ball well. But the scrum operates better with Rory Best as hooker. Nevertheless Flannery will probably be chosen against Argentina and France, for to win Ireland has to play a free and fast game, where Flannery shades Best.
Whatever about Gordon Darcy or O'Driscoll, if Ireland was in the World Cup without John Hayes they wouldn't have a hope. In the modern game, Hayes at 6'4” brings extra leverage to Ireland's line out where his reach gives the jumpers a valuable three or four inches more. Also an extremely good defender around the fringes of rucks and mauls.
A mobile modern ball-carrying, fast prop but not a power prop with immense strength that some of the other teams in the tournament will have. He weighs just 105kg and would struggle against the likes of John Hayes, Carl Hayman and Andrew Sheridan What he does bring is that mobility and if Ireland can play a fast running game he can do well.
The rising star of Irish rugby, one of the top two or three number eights in the world. Very aggressive, a great defender and has GAA ball skills in the air. A great engine but for his position he possibly lacks the turn of pace that Wallace has and other number eights in the world have. Other teams in the world respect his physicality.
O'Callaghan's Munster combination with O'Connell has become almost telepathic especially at line outs. But O'Callaghan still needs to reach his full potential. Playing for Munster he proved that he is aggressive and extremely mobile for a second row, but for Ireland he has still to reach that level of intensity and is still developing as a player.
World class. Talisman. Leader. Well conditioned, a great athlete. Like Martin Johnson, he is a hard physical player that doesn't like to do the flashy stuff. Ireland needs Paul O'Connell to play at his best but he probably hasn't played at his best for six months. Ireland needs him to come back to form.
This will probably be Malcolm's last tournament playing in an Irish jersey as he will probably follow Denis Hickie into retirement from international rugby. The mental edge has probably gone out of his game. But he is still a valuable player and remains one of the best line out experts in the game. He will be on the bench.
Like Neil Best, Alan Quinlan is a superb back row option to come off the bench. Quinlan offers greater mobility than best and his ball skills are an advantage to Ireland's attack. At 6'3” Quinlan also offers another line out option and can play in the second row. He thoroughly deserves to be on the Irish squad. Scored a try against Argentina in Adelaide during RWC 2003 may feature against the Pumas in 2007.
Position Back Row
Returned to the Irish squad this year having recovered from a career-threatning neck injury during Ireland's tour to Japan in 2005. His absence for Munster and Ireland the following season allowed Jerry Flannery the opportunity to demonstrate his fine ability as an international hooker. With some of Flannery's pace and some of Best's strength, Sheahan offers a balanced third option to O'Sullivan should injury rule wither of his front row partners out.
A superb ball carrier, very quick over the first five metres. Great leg strength and great leg speed. He might not be the specialist number seven that Keith Gleeson or Richie McCaw is. He can play in all three back row positions equally well, has settled well into the number seven jersey but Ireland could make better use of Wallace at number eight with his speed and strength.
Position Back Row
A consistent front row forward, Best may see some game time in the first two pool games. He is in the Irish squad as a replacement for Marcus Horan who has had some problems with his calf muscle in recent years. Best played well-enough in his first Six Nations start where he replaced an injured Horan against Scotland to merit his inclusion for the Argentina tour where he captained the senior side.
Ferris had a good tour of Argentina during the summer and this is the primary reason for his inclusion in the Irish squad. WIth just four caps since his debut last November, Ferris's selection is controversial, particularly considering the exclusion of the experienced and talented Keith Gleeson from the squad. Secured a full contract with Ulster two years ago and won the Ulster Rugby Young Player of the Year award.
Position No. 8
If Bryan Young makes the starting team in any of the major matches, Ireland is in trouble. He is hardly an adequate replacement for John Hayes, whose absence would be terribly missed. He can play on both sides of the front row – tighthead or loosehead – which adds to his value to the team. Young is 8cm shorter then Hayes so Ireland's normally dependable second row can't leverage as much