Devin Toner looks likely to be the headline omission from Ireland’s World Cup squad.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will submit his final 31 man squad to World Rugby today. The IRFU had outlined that they would not publicly announce the squad until Sunday, but have now decided to bring that announcement forward to lunchtime today.
While Toner’s omission will be the most surprising decision, RugbyPass understands that Schmidt has also cut a number of players who were widely expected to make the plane.
Marmion, a player Schmidt has previously shown a huge amount of faith in, will be hugely disappointed after a productive season for Ireland. The Connacht scrum-half was Schmidt’s starting scrum-half in the absence of the injured Conor Murray’s during the November internationals, and was particularly impressive during the 16-9 defeat of New Zealand.
Yet Schmidt now appears to have opted for Leinster’s Luke McGrath instead.
Murphy is another player who often flourished under Schmidt. After playing a key role in the second half of Leinster’s double winning campaign in 2018, Murphy moved to Ulster in a bid to increase his gametime ahead of the World Cup. It now looks like that move was not enough to earn a spot in Schmidt’s squad.
In one of the tighter calls facing Schmidt, Addison looks set to be left behind in order to accommodate Munster centre Chris Farrell. Addison has been capped four times since making his Ireland debut last November, and delivered a bright performance in Saturday’s defeat of Wales.
Yet it is Toner’s absence that will come as the biggest shock.
The Leinster lock has been capped 67 times and had played a central role in a number of Ireland’s best performances under Schmidt, but looks to have fallen down to the pecking order after an injury disrupted end to the season with his province.
Toner could also be cited for a dangerous hit on Wales’ Rob Evans during the latter stages of Ireland’s 22-17 win in Cardiff, although it is unclear if that played much of a role in Schmidt’s thinking.
With Toner left out of the squad, Schmidt is expected to include Munster Jean Kleyn, who can cover both lock and the back row. Kleyn only became eligible to play for Ireland last month.
Schmidt is also set to bring Tadhg Beirne, another player who can cover a number of positions.
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