5 Irish Rugby Players To Watch This Season

An exciting time for Irish Rugby.

Last season will no doubt go down as a hugely successful season for Irish Rugby. An historic win over the All Blacks was followed up by an impressive 2nd-placed finish in the Six Nations and excellent runs in the Champions Cup and PRO12 for Munster and Leinster.

The best part about it is a lot of the talent in Ireland right now is still very young. Both at club and international level, a number of up and comers were given an opportunity to shine last season and expect that trend to continue this coming season.

Here are five players to keep an eye on.

James Ryan

The Leinster second-row was a surprise inclusion in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad for the June series and is clearly highly-rated. He’s yet to be capped by his province, but has already lined out for his country, grabbing a try on debut against the USA. Big things are expected from the former Ireland U-20s captain.

Chris Farrell

Ireland have always lacked depth in the centre, and with Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose likely to miss the November series, Munster’s new midfield man could be fast tracked into the national set-up if he starts the season well. Standing 6ft 4in and weighing in at over 16 stone, Farrell is a completely different option for both Munster and Ireland. Still only 24 years of age, he’s one to watch out for.

JJ Hanrahan

The talented playmaker returns to Munster are a two-year stint with Northampton. The Kerry native’s Premiership experience didn’t quite go according to plan, but he will come back having learned from it. Hanrahan was playing the best rugby of his career before he left, and with Paddy Jackson likely to miss the entire season, coupled with his versatility, he could find himself earning his first Ireland cap before long.

Jacob Stockdale

The 21 year-old versatile back impressed in his first season at the northern province, bagging 9 tries. Standing 6ft 5in, he’s an impressive runner and knows where the try line is. Made his debut for Ireland in the summer, grabbing a try against the USA. A future star no doubt.

Ultan Dillane

Started last season well, impressing in the November series, but was overlooked in the Six Nations. Struggled with injury, but providing he can stay fit, should be able to fill the void in the Ireland set-up left by Donnacha Ryan. Still only 23 years-old.

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