Devin Toner left out of Ireland’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad
IRFU confirm Joe Schmidt has omitted lock with Addison, Murphy and Marmion also cut
Devin Toner has been left out of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup squad. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
The IRFU have formally confirmed the 31-man squad they have submitted to World Rugby for the World Cup in Japan and, as reported, Devin Toner is one of the surprising omissions.
The IRFU brought forward the squad’s publication from its planned announcement next Sunday. Of the 41-man training squad in camp until last week, Rob Herring, Jack McGrath, Finlay Bealham, Tommy O’Donnell, Ross Byrne and Dave Kearney were also the recipient of the dreaded news from Joe Schmidt, who on Saturday had described this process four years ago as the worst days of his coaching career and “horrible”.
Cronin was selected as one of three hookers along with Rory Best and Niall Scannell, while the performances of Dave Kiloyne, John Ryan and Andrew Porter in last Saturday’s 22-17 win over Wales cemented their places along with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong.
Despite his undoubted lineout and restart expertise, and being pretty much an ever-present in Joe Schmidt’s six and a half years as Irish head coach, the 33-year-old Toner, who has played in 60 of the coach’s 70 tests in charge, misses out to the recently qualified South African-born lock Jean Kleyn.
Kleyn won his first cap within two days of becoming eligible against Italy in Ireland’s first warm-up game, and was retained for the 57-15 defeat against England.
Recent evidence has re-affirmed the importance of bulk and physicality, and so Schmidt and his assistant coaches have opted for Kleyn’s strength and old-school, enforcer abilities. The ankle injury which Toner suffered toward the end of last season probably contributed to him missing out.
Kleyn is named as one of four locks along with James Ryan, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne.
Similarly Murphy, who was in the World Cup squad four years ago, misses out as Rhys Ruddock’s physicality sees him named alongside Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Jack Conan and Josh van der Flier in the quintet of backrows.
As was also expected, Schmidt and co have opted for two scrumhalves and three outhalves, with Luke McGrath edging out Marmion to travel with Conor Murray, and Carty’s performance in his first Test start against Wales secured him his place along with Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery.
Despite Addison’s ability to cover fullback, wing and centre, he misses out, as Farrell’s physicality sees him travel as a fourth centre.
Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose were all, inevitably, named while Conway is included along with Jacob Stockdale, Keith Earls, Rob Kearney and Jordan Larmour.
Ireland’s 31-man World Cup squad:
Hookers (3): Rory Best, Niall Scannell, Sean Cronin
Props (5): Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne, Tadhg Furlong, John Ryan, Andrew Porter
Locks (4): James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne
Backrows (5): Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Jack Conan, Josh van der Flier, Rhys Ruddock
Scrumhalves (2): Conor Murray, Luke McGrath
Outhalves (3): Johnny Sexton, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty
Centres (4): Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose, Chris Farrell
Back three (5): Jacob Stockdale, Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway.