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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 18 August, 2019

The Bangor Bulldozer and The Dartist: 5 bolters who could make Ireland's World Cup squad

Can any of these young bucks force themselves into Joe Schmidt’s plans?

WE ARE FINALLY in the World Cup year of 2015 and Irish fans are buoyant with expectation after Joe Schmidt’s side’s stellar 2014. But who will make up Ireland’s World Cup squad that travel to England?

The Ireland boss probably has a good idea of who he will bring but if someone lights up the remainder of the club season they could be in Schmidt’s plans this autumn. Here are five young guns who the cliché of ‘bolter’ could apply to during the rest of the season.

Tadhg Furlong

Tadhg Furlong 12/11/2014 Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Marty Moore’s injury problems have allowed the young Wexford prop gain plenty of game-time so far this year, and the tighthead has seized his chance. A cameo against Castres saw the scrum steady itself after some early-game woes while he has offered more in the loose than your average tighthead.

While Moore already has international experience, if Furlong can continue his progression he might be able to edge ahead of his teammate by the season’s end.

Stewart McCloskey

Stuart McCloskey is tackled by Jason Tovey Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

He’s raw but at 6’4 and about 17 stone, McCloskey has all the physical tools needed to be Ireland’s very own Mathieu Bastareaud or George North. But there is one key difference between the Bangor Bulldozer and the sometimes one dimensional Bastareaud and it can be best explained in this gif.


McCloskey’s offloading ability has stood out this season and it is a testament to his play that Stuart Olding has played a lot at fullback to accommodate the young 12.

But what is most appealing about McCloskey at inside centre is that he would give Ireland a type of size in the backline that they haven’t traditionally had.

Luke McGrath

Luke McGrath offloads Source: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

McGrath’s passing is sharp and he is a constant sniping threat. His kicking game probably hasn’t been tested enough yet for international level but the way he is developing, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him at least on the Leinster bench before the end of the season.

Tony McGahan threw Conor Murray into the deep end in a Challenge Cup quarter-final in 2011 and you feel that if Matt O’Connor showed the same kind of faith in McGrath, it could reap similar rewards.

He has already shown a telepathic relationship with the other Leinster bolter on this list.


Denis Buckley

Denis Buckley Source: James Crombie/INPHO

This has been Buckley’s breakout season. After being a bit-part player over the last two years he gained 8kg of muscle in the summer and has now nailed down the loosehead spot in the Connacht side. The westerners scrum has been the focal point of their good play this year and Buckley has been able to measure himself against three international level props – Nathan White, Rodney Ah You and Ronan Loughney – every day in training.

Connacht obviously rate him too – they gave him a new deal until 2017 in November – and while he might be behind Cian Healy, Jack McGrath, James Cronin and Dave Kilcoyne at the moment, the attrition rate among props means that he still has an outside change at making the squad if his form continues.

Duncan Casey

Duncan Casey Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

You can’t really make an argument that Casey is a better player than Rory Best, Sean Cronin or Richardt Strauss. But what you can say is that Casey’s exceptionally accurate lineout throwing could be a reason to take him as the third hooker.

Ireland’s lineout options are too strong to allow it to malfunction due to errant throws and having Casey in reserve could remedy that.

Casey’s darts are so prolific that he should have his own nickname and walk-on music. I vote for Duncan ‘The Dartist’ Casey and this entrance.

Source: TheChannelDarts/YouTube

What outsiders do you think could make Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad?

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