Ireland confirm World Cup squad

Date published: September 1 2015

The Ireland coaching team have named their 31-player squad for the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

The squad is made up of 17 forwards and 14 backs and will be captained by Paul O'Connell, who is the most capped player in the group with 103 caps.

Two notable omissions in the backs are veterans Andrew Trimble, who has struggled with injury, and Gordon D'Arcy, who was set to retire after the Rugby World Cup.

The squad has a total of 1043 caps across the 31 players. Seventeen players will make their tournament debuts at Rugby World Cup 2015 – Darren Cave, Luke Fitzgerald, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, Dave Kearney, Ian Madigan, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Peter O'Mahony, Jared Payne, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, Nathan White and Simon Zebo.

Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan are the only two scrum-halves in the squad while Cian Healy is included despite having not featured in the warm-up matches due to injury.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt confirmed that the process of selecting the squad was a difficult one.

"The players have worked incredibly hard over the past two months," he said.

"Sunday was a difficult and very long day for the coaching team and an anxious one for many players.

"There were some very tight decisions, particularly in the back three and it was also a challenge to make sure that key positions were covered as much as a squad of 31 players allows.

"A number of players were very unlucky to miss selection. We know from observing past World Cups that it's important for us to keep track of their performances because some of them are likely to be involved in the tournament."

Ireland are in Pool D alongside Canada, Romania, Italy and France. Ireland's first game of the tournament comes against the Canadians at the Millennium Stadium Cardiff on September 19.

Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad:

Forwards: Rory Best, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Sean O'Brien. Paul O'Connell (c), Peter O'Mahony, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, Nathan White

Backs: Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Robbie Henshaw, Paddy Jackson, David Kearney, Rob Kearney, Ian Madigan, Conor Murray, Jared Payne, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Simon Zebo