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Ireland can rely on skill of Ulster's magnificent seven

Rory Best: Ireland's most capped hooker of all time will travel to the tournament as a nailed-on starter. When compared to his contemporaries, Best's occasional struggles out of touch have been overblown while his work at the breakdown, an area where Ireland struggled against Wales last Saturday, is a real asset from a front-rower.

Tommy Bowe: The two-time Lions tourist has bitter memories of Ireland's quarter-final defeat to Wales four years ago and the winger will be keen to show his pedigree once again on the world stage. Knowing that this will almost surely be his last chance at the tournament, he will be determined to hold on to his starting place.

Darren Cave: The surprise inclusion among the Ulster contingent, Cave has never had the best of luck when it comes to Ireland selection but at 28-years-old he travels to his first World Cup. Chosen as a natural midfielder, he will see time at both inside and outside centre.

Iain Henderson: Has been used as an impact sub off the bench in recent campaigns but, after a starring role against Wales last weekend, is pushing for inclusion in Joe Schmidt's starting line-up. Capable of playing both at lock and in the back-row, the dynamic forward gives the coaching staff plenty of options.

Chris Henry: After suffering a heart scare last year, few players have had to endure more to take their place on the plane to the tournament. On stand-by but uncalled upon four years ago for New Zealand, Henry will relish his chance to feature at the showpiece.

Paddy Jackson: The young fly-half travels as cover for Jonny Sexton after Schmidt resisted the temptation to select only two No 10s. Has missed out on big days before - notably the 2014 Six Nations clincher - and his battle for minutes with Leinster's Ian Madigan throughout the tournament will provide an interesting subplot.

Jared Payne: The outside centre is the least capped member of the Ireland backline but, having started throughout the Six Nations, will likely take his place in Ireland's midfield alongside Robbie Henshaw. The naturalised Kiwi won his first cap only last November but is set to be a key part of the travelling party.

by jonathan bradley

Ireland can rely on Ulster's magnificent seven to take on the world

Belfast Telegraph


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