Profiles of the 2015 Rugby World Cup teams.

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Back-to-back defeats by Wales and England halted Ireland's momentum on the cusp of the World Cup.

They lacked intensity or any sense of purpose in a dreadful opening 40 minutes against England and although they showed a greater urgency to engage in the second half, causing troubling times for head coach Joe Schmidt.

There was a reluctance, understandably, not to unveil too much of their creative back-line play ahead of the tournament opener against Canada and Ireland fans will hope they are saving their best for when they need it in the pool stages against Italy and France.

Ranked 6th coming into the World Cup, Ireland will be hoping that this is the year they can advance past the quarter finals for the first time.


Full-backs: Rob Kearney (Leinster)

Wings: Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), David Kearney (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Centres: Darren Cave (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Jared Payne (Ulster)

First-fives: Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)

Halfbacks: Conor Murray (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster)


Back-row: Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster)

Locks: Iain Henderson (Ulster), Paul O'Connell (Toulon/FRA, capt), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Devin Toner (Leinster)

Hookers: Rory Best (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster)

Props: Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Nathan White (Connacht)


Joe Schmidt