Rated: Ireland's Player Depth Per Position

Rated: Ireland's Player Depth Per Position

Ireland may have failed to reach the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan but there is a lot to look forward to under new head coach Andy Farrell after a promising start to his tenure during the Six Nations.

Ireland kicked off their 2020 Six Nations with wins over Scotland and Wales before falling to an impressive performance from England before the competition was postponed.


In his first three games as head coach Farrell handed debuts to the likes of Caelon Doris, Ronan Kelleher and Max Deegan while also finding a suitable replacement for Rory Best in Rob Herring. 

We take a look at the depth that Farrell has at his disposal and rank each position out of ten assuming all players were fit.


 
 
 
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Loosehead prop: Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath and Jeremy Loughman

At 32, Cian Healy easily fills the tag of a modern world-class loosehead prop and Dave Kilcoyne is in a similar bracket if not just below the flag with the latter regularly making an excellent impact off the bench.

Andrew Porter also chops and changes playing on both sides of the scrum well. British and Irish Lions Jack McGrath hasn't been a regular in the side for some time but would not disappoint if called upon.

Loughman has impressed for Munster and could make a step up to while there are always talented forwards in the Leinster pack.

Overall the no.1 jersey is quite secure for Ireland and would only struggle once there were three or four injuries.

Rating: 8.5

Hooker: Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Niall Scannell, Sean Cronin, Dave Heffernan.

Rory Best really made the jersey his own for some time under Joe Schmidt and Andy Farrell was lucky to get a ready-made replacement in his clubmate Rob Herring. 

Rookie Ronan Kelleher has been excellent for Leinster since his debut and forced Farrell's hand to call him up and could be a long term solution to the jersey.

The likes of Scannell, Cronin and Heffernan are all more than capable of stepping up while some will need to improve their set piece work.

Rating: 7

Tighthead Prop: Tadgh Furlong, Andrew Porter, John Ryan, Finlay Bealham, Tom O'Toole

Like Healy, Furlong easily fulfils the tag of a world-class prop and is arguably the best in his position in the world. As mentioned before Andrew Porter has performed well on both sides of the scrum and could make a simple jump into the starting jersey to replace Furlong if needed.

John Ryan is solid and powerful enough for international rugby but there is somewhat of a notable difference after Furlong.

All in all, tighthead prop isn't as massively stacked at loosehead but Farrell can still feel quite comfortable with a few youngsters also sharping their game to step up.

Rating: 7

Locks: Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Devin Toner, Jean Kleyn, Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane, Ryan Baird and Fineen Wycherley

A well-stocked position with British and Irish Lions currently claiming the starting roles with the hugely experienced Devin Toner waiting in the wings.

Without including Tadgh Beirne at lock, there are numerous options with even the physical Jean Kleyn currently injured. Quin Roux and Ultane Dillane are also more than capable of starting for the side with Fineen Wycherley and Ryan Baird just two of the promising talents coming through the ranks.

Rating: 8.5

Blindside flank: Peter O'Mahony, Tadgh Beirne, Rhys Ruddock, Tom O'Donnell

O'Mahony has had a stronghold on the jersey, particularly under Joe Schmidt, but there are numerous options after the inspirational veteran. 

CJ Stander started the Six Nations in the role with the likes of Beirne and Ruddock also starring in the position.

Farrell does have quite a bit of depth here particularly when some of the 8s are also considered.

Rating: 8

Openside Flanker: Josh van der Flier, Dan Leavy, Jordi Murphy and Will Connors

Josh van der Flier has taken over the jersey from Sean O'Brien and the absence of Dan Leavy has shined for Ireland.

However, after the Leinster pair, there is some gap for the International stage with Peter O'Mahony often tasked with filling it.

Murphy hasn't disappointed in the position neither has Ruddock while Connors is one for the future.

Rating: 6

No.8: CJ Stander, Caelon Doris, Jack Conan, Jack O'Donoghue and Max Deegan

Stander has been excellent in the role since his debut and the retirement of Jamie Heaslip with youngsters like Deegan and Doris making a real claim for the jersey of late.

Jack Conan hasn't disappointed when he has pulled on the green jersey while there is promise in the likes of Jack O'Donoghue and the recent Munster debutant John Hodnett.

Rating: 8

Scrumhalf: Conor Murray, John Cooney, Luke McGrath, Kieran Marmion and Caolin Blade

Not too much has to be said about Farrell's options at scrumhalf with quality filtering right through. 

Murray hasn't quite been at his career-best but is still performing at a high test quality level for the side.

Rating: 9

Flyhalf: Jonathan Sexton, Joey Carbery, Ross Byrne, Jack Carty, Harry Byrne and Billy Burns

Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton steered the side during Schmidt's most successful years as Ireland head coach and it looks as if he will continue for some time with Farrell.

Ian Madigan returning to Ireland also boosts the test experience in the position with plenty of talent in the role just needing some experience.

While the rating for the flyhalves may seem low, it would ultimately rise with some more experience after Sexton.

Rating: 7

Wing: Jacob Stockdale, Keith Earls, Robert Balcoune, Adam Byrne, Andrew Conway, Dave Kearney, Darren Sweetnam and Niyi Adeolokun

At first glance, there is a more than enough quality on the wing for Ireland before even looking at the potential of some of the fullbacks shifting to the side of the pitch.

Larmour, Addison and Haley could all do a job, and fine one on the wing, with Conway able to do the opposite too. 

Focusing sole on the wingers there is somewhat of a drop off following Stockdale and Earls but the cover from versatilie outside backs does help as too does the rising talents coming through including Baloucoune.

Rating: 8

Midfielders: Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Stuart McCloskey, Robbie Henshaw, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Dan Goggin and Luke Marshall.

A well-stocked position for Farrell with even consistent performers like McCloskey unable to crack the squad regularly.

Versatility in Ringrose, Henshaw and Farrell certainly help a ton as too is Earls ability to play in the centre.

Rory Scannell has been superb for Munster and can't force his way into the side with Tom Farrell also on the outskirts of the side.

Rating: 9

Fullback:  Jordan Larmour, Will Addison, Rob Kearney, Mike Haley and Tiernan O'Halloran

With Rob Kearney out of the picture at fullback, there is little test experience in the starting role.

There are numerous options for Andy Farrell with Andrew Conway and Jacob Stockdale capable of filling the role but in truth experience does hurt the rating somewhat.

Rating: 7

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