Ireland training squad for Rugby World Cup named

Ireland and Ulster hooker Rob Herring
Ireland and Ulster hooker Rob Herring

Rob Herring has been included in the Ireland training panel ahead of this autumn’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

He joins Ulster stablemate Rory Best, the Irish captain, in the 44-man panel confirmed by head coach Joe Schmidt on Tuesday.

Herring played a prominent role for Ireland last summer in Australia when Best, who will retire after the World Cup from the professional game, was injured.

Although he missed out on selection for the initial Six Nations squad earlier this season, he was called back in.

Herring will be hoping he can claim a place on the plane ahead of Leinster’s Sean Cronin and Munster’s Niall Scannell when the squad is whittled down to 31 for the tournament in Japan.

Munster duo Mike Haley and Jean Kleyn are the only uncapped players included in the training squad for their pre-World Cup training camps.

Haley joined Gallagher Premiership club Sale last summer and is available for Joe Schmidt’s men on account of his maternal grandmother.

The 24-year-old full-back played on the England Saxons’ tour of South Africa in 2016 and was picked in training squads by Eddie Jones, without being capped.

Kleyn, a 25-year-old second row, qualifies for Ireland on residency grounds after swapping South Africa’s Stormers for Munster in 2016.

Ireland are holding training camps in Galway, Limerick and Maynooth and play four warm-up games - against Italy, England and Wales - in August and September.

“There were some very close calls in selection and it’s always a challenging process because we know how hard the players work,” said head coach Joe Schmidt, who has lost opensides Dan Leavy and Sean O’Brien to World Cup-ending injuries.

“It’s ideal that they get a good opportunity to relax for a few weeks before getting stuck into pre-season training.

“Some players have missed out through injury and there are one or two guys that may be added into the squad at a later stage.”

Ireland extended World Cup training squad:

Props (7): Cian Healy, Jack McGrath, Dave Kilcoyne, Tadhg Furlong, John Ryan, Andrew Porter, Finlay Bealham

Hookers (4): Rory Best, Sean Cronin, Niall Scannell, Rob Herring

Second rows (6): James Ryan, Devin Toner, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne, Ultan Dillane, Jean Kleyn

Back rows (7): CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Tommy O’Donnell,

Halfbacks (8): Conor Murray, Kieran Marmion, Luke McGrath, John Cooney, Johnny Sexton, Jack Carty, Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery

Centres (5): Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell

Back threes (7): Keith Earls, Rob Kearney, Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Conway, Jordan Larmour, Dave Kearney, Mike Haley.

Ireland’s warm-up fixtures:

August 10 (2pm), Aviva Stadium, v Italy

August 24 (3pm), Twickenham, v England

August 31 (2.30pm), Cardiff, v Wales

September 7 (2pm), Aviva Stadium, v Wales.

Ireland opening game at the World Cup will be their Pool B game against Scotland on September 22.