Trimble, Moore and Jones among unlucky men to miss out on World Cup

JOE SCHMIDT CONFIRMED his 31-man Ireland World Cup squad this morning. Here, we take a look at some of the players who were unlucky to miss out on the being part of the final group.

Every one of them will remain on standby in the coming months, with injuries at the World Cup a regular occurrence. These men may yet play an important part in Schmidt’s plans. 

Andrew Trimble

The Ulsterman fought incredibly hard to put himself back in the mix early last month, earning a start against Wales in Cardiff and impressing hugely with a physical, energetic and combative performance on the right wing.

Trimble lasted only 34 minutes, however, before a fresh foot injury forced him off and kept him out of training for more than a week. That came after a 2014/15 season in which Trimble had played just six times for Ulster and hadn’t featured for Ireland.

Though he scored a try in a full outing for Ulster last weekend, that long-term lack of game time looks to have counted against Trimble in the most competitive area of Ireland’s squad.

He will of course be top of Ireland’s standby list and it would be no surprise to see him feature in the World Cup at some stage. If that proves to be the case, Schmidt can be confident that Trimble will deliver.

Marty Moore

Another player whose injury travails have cost him a shot at playing in the 2015 World Cup, Moore had returned to fitness this pre-season following two shoulder operations in 2014/15.

Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Again, disaster struck for the 24-year-old when he began to experience pain in one of his feet, perhaps a result of his determined efforts on the pitch to rebuild his conditioning. Originally scheduled to feature against Wales last weekend, Moore’s chance passed by.

The latest diagnosis of his foot injury looks set to rule Moore out for a month or so, meaning he may well miss the start of Leinster’s season too. A difficult time for a man who has been important for Ireland in recent campaigns, but he will look to bounce back.

While speaking of those for whom injury came at a cruel time, it would be remiss of us not to mention Tommy O’Donnell. Excellent in the win against Wales, the Tipp man would have made Schmidt’s selection in the back row a huge headache.

Felix Jones

A Joe Schmidt favourite in the last year, and for good reason. It’s not enough to squeeze his way into the final 31-man squad though, as the ability of Simon Zebo and others to cover fullback behind Rob Kearney means Jones misses out.

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A strong try-scoring performance in Cardiff last month had underlined all the things that Schmidt likes in Jones: his diligent positioning and excellent tackling, a high work rate and his ability in the air. On top of that, there were sparks of counter attacking prowess.

Like Trimble, Jones is a man who excels on the training paddock too, while he has developed into a leader with Munster. All of those attributes gave him a strong chance, but the competition has squeezed him out.

Isaac Boss/Kieran Marmion

Whatever way one saw this third scrum-half selection going, the general feeling last month was that Schmidt would not take the risk of bringing only two scrum-halves into the World Cup campaign.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

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The mutterings about Ian Madigan gave us some warning of what was to come, although Isaac Boss and Kieran Marmion would both have hoped that the whispers were nothing more than speculation.

Marmion has spent much of the pre-season with his province, playing only 13 minutes off the bench against Wales in Cardiff. Boss was handed an Ireland start against Scotland but couldn’t impose himself on the game in what was his first outing of the season.

In truth, Boss was further up the pecking order, but Schmidt’s decision to go with only Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan means he will go back to Leinster instead of travelling to Cardiff in two weeks’ time.

Fergus McFadden

Another player Schmidt has a lot of time for, and another whose omission is a marker of the quality competition for the outside back positions in this squad. Winning his 29th cap, McFadden looked sharp against an admittedly poor Wales side in Cardiff.

Defensively, the Leinster man is superb, acting almost as an ‘enforcer’ as he bursts off his wing and makes big spot tackles. In terms of his character, McFadden offers aggression and focus that is infectious to the players around him.

The 29-year-old might have hoped to benefit from Schmidt’s call on the scrum-halves, given that he has much experience of playing in the centre. However, Darren Cave is a specialist midfielder and it seems that was foremost in Schmidt’s thoughts.

McFadden will be pivotal for Leinster in the World Cup period and we can be certain that he will be making some smashing hits and head-down, barrelling runs as he remains on standby for Ireland.

Dave Kilcoyne

With the doubt surrounding Cian Healy, Muster’s Dave Kilcoyne could have been forgiven for thinking that his power and dynamism might be called upon to travel with Ireland.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

We must mention Leinster’s Michael Bent in that sense too, particularly with his ability to cover both sides of the scrum. As it transpires, neither man has been picked, even though Schmidt and Greg Feek have gone for only five props.

Kilcoyne was excellent with ball in hand against Scotland, but his chances to shine off the bench against Wales last weekend were limited. Bent, meanwhile, got outings against Wales and Scotland but couldn’t convince Schmidt of his claim.

At 26, Kilcoyne still has time on his hands and will be more determined that ever in the coming years. With Healy making his return from such a serious injury, there is still some possibility that Kilcoyne might feature in the coming months too.

Gordon D’Arcy

While form perhaps wasn’t totally on the veteran’s side, his experience and character certainly were. Schmidt opts for Darren Cave ahead of the Leinster man, who now looks set to return to his province and provide a standby option.

If this does signify the end of D’Arcy’s international career, he will reflect on some magical moments in a thrilling journey with Ireland.

Schmidt confirms 31-man Ireland squad with Cave and Furlong in6 big talking points on the day Joe Schmidt submitted his Rugby World Cup squad