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Future-Focused Ireland Squad Needed for South Africa Tour, Not a Repeat of RWC 2023

Future-Focused Ireland Squad Needed for South Africa Tour, Not a Repeat of RWC 2023

As Ireland prepares for the two-Test series in South Africa, head coach Andy Farrell must prioritize future planning over past achievements. As Ireland prepares for the two-Test series in South Africa, head coach Andy Farrell must prioritise future planning over past achievements.

As Ireland prepares for the two-Test series in South Africa, head coach Andy Farrell must prioritize future planning over past achievements. With the Rugby World Cup 2027 on the horizon, the squad selection should reflect upcoming talent rather than recycling the RWC 2023 lineup.

The tension between Ireland and South Africa has intensified, with key figures like Rassie Erasmus and Eben Etzebeth vocal about their disdain for Ireland. Despite this, Farrell has maintained a low profile, focusing on strategic squad decisions.

A proposed 35-player training group is promising, but realistically, around 31/32 will travel. This tour offers an ideal opportunity to introduce fresh talent such as Cian Prendergast, Sam Prendergast, Jamie Osborne, John Hodnett, and Michael Milne. Additionally, Ulster’s Nathan Doak, versatile at both no.9 and no.10, could be crucial for the six-two bench split strategy.

Key players from the Six Nations and emerging talents should form the backbone of the squad, ensuring a balance between experience and new blood. Important decisions, like choosing between Stuart McCloskey and Garry Ringrose, need careful consideration, particularly given Ringrose’s limited playtime this year.

Farrell’s selection should reflect forward planning, integrating future stars to build a robust team for upcoming challenges. Here is a suggested 35-player squad for the South Africa tour:

Backs (10): Jimmy O’Brien, Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Calvin Nash, Jacob Stockdale, Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose/Stuart McCloskey, Jamie Osborne

Half-Backs (6): Jack Crowley, Sam Prendergast, Craig Casey, Jamison Gibson-Park, Conor Murray, Nathan Doak

Forwards (19): Dan Sheehan, Ronan Kelleher, Rob Herring, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Furlong, Oli Jager, Jeremy Loughman, Andrew Porter, Michael Milne, Joe McCarthy, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Kieran Treadwell, Ryan Baird, Caelan Doris, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Cian Prendergast, John Hodnett

Ireland 2024 Summer Tour to South Africa – Schedule:

Future-Focused Ireland Squad Needed for South Africa Tour, Not a Repeat of RWC 2023
Future-Focused Ireland Squad Needed for South Africa Tour, Not a Repeat of RWC 2023

• Saturday, July 6: South Africa vs. Ireland, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

• Saturday, July 13: South Africa vs. Ireland, Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban

By focusing on future talent and strategic selection, Ireland can lay a strong foundation for RWC 2027 and beyond.

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