IRELAND – whose 33-player squad members include local quartet Craig Casey, Keith Earls, Dave Kilcoyne and Conor Murray – will arrive this Thursday afternoon at their base camp in the University city of Tours ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
For both Garryowen’s Murray – who touched down for a try in the laboured win over Samoa in Bayonne at the weekend – and Earls – who missed the Saturday fixture in France with a minor injury – of Young Munster, selection represents their fourth such global adventure, while for Craig Casey (Shannon) the campaign will be début territory.
Kilcoyne (UL/Bohemian) was also involved four years ago in Japan.
Munster’s Jeremy Loughman, who is attached to Garryowen, is also included in the travelling party.
Ireland open their Pool B campaign against Romania at Stade de Bordeaux on Saturday week, before taking on Tonga in their second outing in Nantes the following Saturday.
Farrell’s side then move on to the Stade de France in Paris for clashes against defending champions South Africa on Saturday, 23 September and Scotland on Saturday, 7 October.
Head coach Andy Farrell commented: “We look forward to the challenges ahead, knowing there is a huge level of support for the team from across the four Provinces, from all those in green around the world and from the thousands who will be in France backing us throughout the tournament.”
Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton added: “We are under no illusions of the size of the task ahead, starting with Romania in our Pool opener. We will take each challenge as it comes, leaning on the experiences and lessons we have learnt as a group over the last four years, and with our supporters travelling in numbers, we will be working hard to make this a tournament to remember.”
Ireland are fourth, behind New Zealand, France and holders South Africa. in the betting to win out the tenth edition of the World Cup and lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
RTÉ and Virgin Media will share television rights of the World Cup.