Ireland Rugby World Cup 2023 squad and odds – strong on paper, but close to disaster?

In just over a week’s time, Ireland will take on Romania to kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign. As the men in green look to take home the William Webb-Ellis trophy for the first time in nine attempts, we break down the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad.

Ireland rugby World Cup odds

With a strong team full of confidence, blending experience and youthful flare, Ireland have the team to win this World Cup on paper. But can they shake the quarter-final hoodoo?

Ireland World Cup 2023 squad – a few injuries away from disaster?

On the 27th of August, Ireland announced their 33-man squad that will be heading to France to contest the Rugby World Cup.

Here’s a closer look at who’s in, who’s out, and what all of this means ahead of Ireland’s first fixture next weekend.


  • Finlay Bealham – Connacht (32 caps)
  • Tadhg Furlong – Leinster (67 caps)
  • Jeremy Loughman – Munster (3 caps)
  • Dave Kilcoyne – Munster (52 caps)
  • Tom O’Toole Ulster (11 caps)
  • Andrew Porter – Leinster (54 caps)

Despite the omission of Cian Healy due to a late injury, Ireland are still looking well placed in terms of props. They have a good degree of experience, with three players over 50 Tests, and all but one in double-digits.


  • Rob Herring – Ulster (37 caps)
  • Ronan Kelleher – Leinster (21 caps)
  • Dan Sheehan – Leinster (18 caps)

Dan Sheehan is likely to get the start here, making it an all-Leicester front row possibly. Both Herring and Kelleher are no newbies either.


  • Ryan Baird – Leinster (13 caps)
  • Tadhg Beirne – Munster (41 caps)
  • Iain Henderson – Ulster (74 caps)
  • Joe McCarthy – Leinster (3 caps)
  • James Ryan – Leinster (55 caps)

Ireland have the luxury of including some serious experience in their squad at lock, with Ryan Baird and Tadgh Beirne likely to form the starting pair.

Back rows

  • Jack Conan – Leinster (39 caps)
  • Caelan Doris – Leinster (31 caps)
  • Peter O’Mahony – Munster (96 caps)
  • Josh van der Flier – Leinster (52 caps)

All going well, Peter O’Mahony will bring up his century at this Rugby World Cup, as the most experienced member of this back row. Joining him are the experienced Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan and Caelan Doris.

Scrum halves

  • Craig Casey – Munster (12 caps)
  • Jamison Gibson-Park – Leinster (26 caps)
  • Conor Murray – Munster (106 caps)

Conor Murray brings immense experience at scrum half as the Munster player prepares to contest his fourth Rugby World Cup. However, Jamison Gibson-Park is likely to keep him out of the starting position, with the veteran coming off the bench and Craig Casey being used as injury cover.

Fly halves

  • Ross Byrne – Leinster (21 caps)
  • Jack Crowley – Munster (6 caps)
  • Jonathan Sexton – Leinster (113 caps)

You’ve got to think Ross Bryne and Jack Crowley are just here to give Jonathan Sexton a break against one of the weaker teams in the pool, and the veteran pivot will be playing some big minutes outside of this. He’s what makes the Irish tema tick.


  • Bundee Aki – Connacht (47 caps)
  • Robbie Henshaw – Leinster (64 caps)
  • Stuart McCloskey – Ulster (13 caps)
  • Garry Ringrose – Leinster (51 caps)

Plenty of danger and experience here for Ireland, with the bombastic Bundee Aki coming in alongside wily veterans such as Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose.

Back three

  • Keith Earls – Munster (100 caps)
  • Mack Hansen – Connacht (16 caps)
  • Hugo Keenan – Leinster (31 caps)
  • James Lowe – Leinster (21 caps)
  • Jimmy O’Brien – Leinster (6 caps)

Keith Earls will be looking to make hay as he just crossed the century mark last weekend, while James Lowe is the hottest thing in world rugby right now. They’ve got a back three full of flair regardless of how they chop these five.

Key players – protect Sexton at all costs

Few squads are as heavily reliant on one man as Ireland are. Not only is Jonathan Sexton the Irish captain, and most experienced player in their squad, but he’s also their best playmaker by a country mile. It would be an understatement to say Sexton is a key player in this squad.

Ireland Rugby World Cup squad

Tadgh Furlong is always important for Ireland, but even more so with no Cian Healy in this side. His experience up front will be crucial when Ireland take on a physical South Africa, and it’s vital he stays fit.

Key absentees – late injury sees Healy miss out

Veteran prop Cian Healy is the most notable omission from the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad, with the 125-cap forward suffering a leg injury in the side’s final warm up match last weekend. With a recovery period of 10 weeks, Healy misses out on the squad altogether, as does Cian Prendergast.

Ireland’s form ahead of the World Cup

Undoubtedly, Ireland have been the form team in world rugby across the past two years. Sure, more attention may have been on the French, but you can’t argue with a 14-game winning streak. Here’s how their last five have gone:

Last five matches:

  • Ireland 17-13 Samoa
  • Ireland 29-10 England
  • Ireland 33-17 Italy
  • Ireland 29-16 England
  • Ireland 22-7 Scotland

Odds at World Cup 2023 for Ireland – 5.50 (9/2)

Despite being the number one ranked team in the world currently, and being on a 14-match winning streak that includes victories over New Zealand, South Africa, France, Australia and England, Ireland are only fourth favourites heading into the Rugby World Cup this year with odds of 5.50 (9/2). The reason why the Ireland Rugby World Cup odds are so high, is because the men in green have never passed the quarter-finals at this tournament in nine attempts.

Ireland World Cup group and schedule

Here’s what the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad have ahead of them as they look to win their first crown at the sport’s most prestigious tournament.

  • 09/09/2023 at 13:30 GMT vs Romania
  • 16/09/2023 at 19:00 GMT vs Tonga
  • 23/09/2023 at 19:00 GMT vs South Africa
  • 07/10/2023 at 19:00 GMT vs Scotland

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