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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

8 front rows or 9? Which props and hookers will make Schmidt's final World Cup squad?

Who gets the nod at loosehead and hooker?

Ross, Best and Healy all look certain to play.
Ross, Best and Healy all look certain to play.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

OVER THE LAST few days we’ve been opening the floor to you to discuss who you want to see in Ireland’s final 31 man World Cup squad.

We’ve progressed through the back line, and into the second and back rows so far, and all that’s left is to finalise is the front row contingent you want to see in Schmidt’s final squad.

The safe option is to pick three of each position in the front row, although many have been sacrificing a prop for the sake of an extra second or back row option.

In either instance, it looks like three hookers will make the cut from this list of four.

Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster)

Best and Cronin look certain to make it, leaving Strauss and Herring to contest the remaining place.

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Rob Herring Herring looks like being on the outside of an established trio. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Strauss currently holds the edge with possession of the third choice badge, and was one of the few standout performers in the defeat to the Barbarians last month. Can he fend off the challenge of his fellow South African-born hooker?

Also, there are big calls to make in the front row.

Michael Bent (Dublin University/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)*
Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)

If you’re planning to bring three players from each position, then tighthead looks locked up, but if eight is your number, then there are some big calls to make.

Do you bring two tightheads along, with Michael Bent covering both sides? It allows you an extra pick further down the squad, but is Bent’s lack of gametime at tighthead a concern?

If not, does Kilcoyne’s form edge him in front? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the author:

Neil Treacy

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