Rugby World Cup
How well are Ireland prepared?
Martyn Thomas
June 11, 2015
Ireland are coming off their second straight Six Nations triumph © Getty Images
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Main Issues

All appears rosy for Joe Schmidt's Six Nations champions as they prepare for the World Cup having tasted just one defeat in their last eight games. However, scratch beneath the surface and there are some concerns for their Kiwi coach. Jonathan Sexton has recovered well from the concussion scare that blighted his mid-season, but were he to get injured again then Ireland's hopes would surely suffer. Schmidt does not have a wealth of fly-half talent to pick from, with question marks over Ian Madigan's ability under pressure.

Squad Strength

Historically, Ireland do not do well against the Barbarians, but the manner of their defeat at Thomond Park would not have gone down well with their fans. Shorn of the squad's Munster contingent, the Irish were comfortably second best at times, and allowed a team who were well beaten by England days later to look cohesive. Of course, a lot of steel is added by players from the PRO12 finalists, but those who came in did their chances of a World Cup spot little good. Some of those on display have been given a chance to redeem themselves in Georgia with Emerging Ireland this month, and strong performances could yet see them included.

Injury Concerns

Props Cian Healy and Marty Moore are Ireland's biggest concerns ahead of the World Cup. Both have undergone surgery on respective neck and shoulder injuries. However, the latest indication is that Healy, at least, will be fit in time for the tournament, if not for Ireland's first warm-up game against Wales on August 8. Munster pair Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony both sat out the PRO12 final but are not expected to miss the World Cup.

What are the locals saying

"The individual consequences will be more significant after Ireland slipped to a defeat against the Barbarians at Thomond Park that will merely be a footnote in history. Ultimately, this was an eminently forgettable, ragbag, error-strewn match in which few players had the opportunity to cover themselves in glory, and few did." - Gerry Thornley, The Irish Times

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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