Preliminary Ireland rugby squad for the World Cup announced

Ireland today announced their squad for the warm up matches to this year's world cup in New Zealand. Ireland will face Scotland, France (home and away), Connacht and England ahead f the competition later this year.

The biggest name to miss out is Shane Horgan. Horgan's chances at representing his country one last time in the world cup were dashed by a knee injury that requires surgery. He will miss all of the warm up games and as such won't be selected for the competition itself.

His teammate Rob Kearney has returned to the squad however after missing most of the season for Leinster. This will come as a huge boost for the team as both he and Geordan Murphy return to solve what was somewhat of a problem fullback position in the Six Nations.

Felix Jones, Mike McCarthy, Conor Murray and Brett Wilkinson are the only uncapped players among the 43. Jones is the most likely to make the plane to New Zealand while Murray could force his way there but will need to beat out one of Peter Stringer, Tomas O'Leary or Eoin Reddan.

Backs: I Boss (Leinster), T Bowe (Ospreys), G D'Arcy (Leinster), G Duffy (Connacht), K Earls (Munster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster), F Jones (Munster), R Kearney (Leinster), F McFadden (Leinster), G Murphy (Leicester), C Murray (Munster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), T O'Leary (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), P Stringer (Munster), A Trimble (Ulster), P Wallace (Ulster).

Forwards: R Best (Ulster), T Buckley (Sale Sharks), T Court (Ulster), S Cronin (Leinster), L Cullen (Leinster), S Ferris (Ulster), J Flannery (Munster), J Hayes (Munster), C Healy (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster), M Horan (Munster), S Jennings (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), M McCarthy (Connacht), K McLaughlin (Leinster), S O'Brien (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), M Ross (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), D Varley (Munster), D Wallace (Munster), B Wilkinson (Connacht).