For this week’s team preview, it’s all about the number 3 ranked test side, Ireland. We preview the men in green as they try to win their first Rugby World Cup 2019.
If we had written this blog 6 months ago we would telling you that Ireland were going to conquer all before them, but following a terrible Six Nations where Ireland lost at home to England and away in Wales, coach Joe Schmidt has plenty to consider ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
Last World Cup
Having gone into the last World Cup as the Six Nations champions they were expected to go far. On paper a quarter final against Argentina was definitely a great chance to reach the semis, but they fell to a surprise defeat going down 43-20.
The Coach: Joe Schmidt
After five years of leading the team to some historic wins, this year’s World Cup will be Ireland coach Joe Schmidt’s final show. Under Schmidt’s leadership, the Irish have taken three Six Nations Championship titles and the team’s only two victories in history over the world’s current best, New Zealand. It’ll be a sad day for the Irish to see this legend go once the World Cup’s over, but Andy Farrell is already lined up to take over and he’ll be raring to go.
The Captain: Rory Best
Boasting a massive 117 Test caps and two Lions tours under his belt, Ulster man Rory Best has announced he will retire after Ireland’s World Cup campaign. The Irish hooker has led his team to some of their most exceptional victories over the six years he’s been captain. Best has been on the international scene since 2005 and took over O’Connell as captain of Ireland in 2013, leading the team to three Six Nations wins, including 2018’s Grand Slam - another reason for Ireland to be on top of their game to give Best a proper send off.
The Key Player: Johnny Sexton
It’s no secret that Sexton, Ireland’s world-class fly-half, has played a massive part in guiding the men in green from 8th in the world rankings all the way up to 2nd last year. The current World Rugby Player of the Year will be playing in what’s likely to be his last World Cup and having recently returned from a long term injury will be eager to make a big impression this time round!
A tough call to make! If the Ireland from 2018 turn up then we could see them challenging in the final stages of the tournament. With it being both coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best’s last chance for World Cup glory, we have to believe that by September Ireland should have worked out their problems.
If the Six Nations Ireland turn up then a group exit could be on the cards… So let’s see.
Did you know?
Ireland doesn't have a great track record when it comes to World Cups. They’ve never made it to the Rugby World Cup Final.
Wanna watch the All Blacks in action? Belushi’s Bars across Europe will be showing all of the key fixtures from the Rugby World Cup live on HD screens. Book your table on Belushis.com.
|Ireland vs Scotland||Yokohama|
|Ireland vs Japan||Shizuoka|
|Ireland vs Russia||Kobe|
|Ireland vs Samoa||Fukuoka|
Written by Ben Kelly and Darcy King