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Backseat Drivers: Picking the Irish Rugby World Cup Squad

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The Irish rugby squad is all set to be announced tomorrow and there are sure to be some surprises in Declan Kidney's selection for his final 30 man squad.

While I'm not going to try to predict what Kidney will do, I will pick a squad based on my own observations and evaluations.

Here is my Irish squad for the Rugby World Cup of 2011.

Forwards:
Cian Healy—Healy is one of the better starters in an area of weakness for the team.
Jerry Flannery—May not be 100% healthy but he is still the most talented hooker on the team.
Tom Court—Court will likely take the other starting place across from Healy.
Rory Best—Best should be the starter depending on Flannery's fitness.
Tony Buckley—Would be useful off the bench in an impact role.
Paul O'Connell—Will be looked to as pack leader in New Zealand.
Donnacha O'Callaghan—His partnership with O'Connell will be as crucial as always for possession.
Leo Cullen—Cullen brings a wealth of experience as well as being quality depth.
Sean O'Brien—O'Brien's barreling running will see him be a crucial member of this team.
David Wallace—He may be an old head at this stage but Wallace hasn't looked like slowing down.
Jamie Heaslip—One of the most dynamic forwards in the world, Ireland's backrow should be stellar.
Stephen Ferris—An injury risk yes, but a fully healthy Ferris is a difference maker.
Sean Cronin—Cronin is a talent but will only feature with injuries.
Shane Jennings—Health is a concern but Jennings offers a true openside backup.
Mike Ross—You have to bring at least seven front row forwards, Ross is the seventh.
Donnacha Ryan—Ryan's ability to play in the back or second row wins him this spot.




Backs:
Tomas O'Leary—O'Leary's experience could see him win the starting job.
Eoin Reddan—Reddan is reliable but lacks the explosion of O'Leary.
Ronan O'Gara—O'Gara may have lost his starting place but he's still a vital member of the squad.
Johnathan Sexton—It's time for Sexton to announce himself to the southern hemisphere.
Brian O'Driscoll—It's his last world cup, how motivated do you think number 13 is?
Keith Earls—In this squad, Earls would be a center and be much better for it.
Andrew Trimble—Trimble has been impressive for Ulster and with Ireland recently.
Rob Kearney—Kearney is a key player who brings great stability to the full back position.
Tommy Bowe—Ireland will look to Bowe to wrap up the top try scorer award.
Geordan Murphy—He may have missed the six nations through injury but that heightened his value.
Fergus McFadden—McFadden beats out Gordon D'Arcy who hasn't impressed in a long time.
Luke Fitzgerald—Should be the starting winger across from Bowe.
Connor Murray—A third scrum half may not be crucial but Murray is big enough and talented enough.
Felix Jones—Providing he's not out through injury, Jones will be in my squad for his dynamism.

www.twitter.com/Cianaf

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