The List Of Ireland Internationals Who Will Not Be ‘Available’ For Selection Next Season

End of the road.

Ireland will be without a number of internationals next season either through retirement or moves overseas. While there is not official policy, the IRFU usually (Johnny Sexton being the one exception) don’t pick players unless they’re contracted by one of the provinces – just ask Simon Zebo and Donnacha Ryan.

Captain Rory Best will retire after the World Cup, while Sean O’Brien will be ‘unavailable’ after his move to London Irish. Rob Kearney meanwhile could very well follow him out the door.

Here’s a list of capped players who won’t be ‘available’ next season for various reasons.

Rory Best – Ulster.
The Ireland captain is set to retire from rugby after the World Cup in Japan after a glittering career. He will go down as one of Ireland’s greatest ever captains and will be hoping to bow out with the Webb Ellis Cup in his hands.

Sean O’Brien – Leinster.
The two-time British and Irish Lions tourist was once regarded as one of the very best back-row forwards in the game. But injuries have taken their toll in recent seasons and O’Brien will move to London Irish next season, with the IRFU unwillingly to offer him a deal anywhere near as good as what he’ll be getting in the Premiership.

Darren Cave – Ulster.
The 11-times capped centre will retire at the end of the season at just 32. His Ireland days may be well behind him but he will no doubt be sorely missed my Ulster. An absolute rock in midfield.

Ian Keatley – Munster.
Disappeared for much of this season after the arrival of Joey Carbery at Munster, but has been in and out of Ireland squads as recently as last year. Had a stint with London Irish ahead of his move to Italy with Benetton next season.

Rob Kearney – Leinster.
This one isn’t confirmed but all signs point towards an exit after the World Cup for the veteran fullback. Has made it clear he wants to keep playing with a move to France mooted.

Mike Sherry – Munster.
The injury ravaged hooker has just one cap to his name for Ireland and will leave Munster at the end of the season. His destination remains unknown but he’s currently on loan at Gloucester and could very well end up in the Premiership next season.

Are we missing anyone? Let us know in the comments.

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