No place for Trimble in Ireland squad

Ireland have chosen to go with just two scrum-halves for the World Cup, and have omitted experienced winger Andrew Trimble.

Head coach Joe Schmidt opted to go with just Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan at No.9 in his 31-strong squad, a move which allowed him to make room for an extra centre in Ulster’s Darren Cave.

Isaac Boss and Kieran Marmion miss out as a result, with props Nathan White and Tadhg Furlong both included as expected.

“The players have worked incredibly hard over the past two months,” said Schmidt.

“Sunday was a difficult and very long day for the coaching team and an anxious one for many players.

“There were some very tight decisions, particularly in the back-three and it was also challenging to make sure that key positions were covered as much as a squad of 31 players allows.

“A number of players were very unlucky to miss selection.”

Ireland, who are in World Cup Pool D up against France, Italy, Canada and Romania, face England at Twickenham on Saturday in their final warm-up clash, having defeated Scotland and shared the spoils in two games against Wales.

Loosehead prop Cian Healy is included despite his continued fight to recover from neck surgery in May, while Leinster tighthead Marty Moore misses out owing to foot trouble.

But there was no place for veteran centre Gordon D’Arcy, which likely means the end of his Test career after 16 years and 82 caps.

Munster winger Keith Earls is in the squad despite suffering a worrying blow in Saturday’s 16-10 Dublin defeat to Wales.

Lock Paul O’Connell captains the squad, fresh from his final Premiership appearance in Ireland colours against Wales.

The 35-year-old will retire from the Test arena after the tournament, and swap home province Munster for European aristocrats Toulon.

Ireland 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup:

Backs (14)

Full-backs: Rob Kearney (Leinster)

Wings: Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), David Kearney (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Centres: Darren Cave (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Jared Payne (Ulster)

Fly-halves: Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)

Scrum-halves: Conor Murray (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster)

Forwards (17)

Back-row: Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster)

Locks: Iain Henderson (Ulster), Paul O’Connell (Toulon/FRA, capt), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Devin Toner (Leinster)

Hookers: Rory Best (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster)

Props: Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Nathan White (Connacht)

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