“The Guys Who Played The Last Six Nations – We Need To Change A Lot Of Those Players”

Fresh blood.

It was announced last week that Ireland would be in Band 2 for the Rugby World Cup 2023 draw when it’s made in December – meaning they will be in a pool with one of England, South Africa, New Zealand and Wales.

They could also end up with Scotland or Argentina in their group too with them being placed in Band 3 meaning Andy Farrell’s side could face a massive uphill task before they even land in France.

Ireland were handed a very favourable group for Japan last year only to be handed a shock defeat by the hosts before being dumped out at the quarter-final stages yet again by the All Blacks.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Up and Under Podcast, former Ireland international Jamie Heaslip, who played in several World Cups over the years, reckons Farrell and his team will be hoping for Wales as he doesn’t see the men in green beating any of the other three on their current trajectory.

If Ireland don’t change how they play and usher in some fresh blood, Heaslip thinks they could very well be in trouble come 2023.

“The gut straight away says you’d take Wales there,” Heaslip said.

“But you wouldn’t want the others.

“With the trajectory that we’re on – if we don’t start bringing through some of those [young] guys and change up how we’re playing [Ireland won’t beat South Africa, England or New Zealand].

“But it [France 2023] is a good while out. There’s a lot of things in our favour, it’s not that far away [geographically], we’re gonna have a lot more travelling support etc.

“It’s gonna be an Irish takeover for a lot of the games. I’d say people will just fly down for the weekend. But it’s a tough roll of the dice for us.”

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Episode 8 has arrived – a full day early this week featuring Eddie Jones, Jamie Heaslip, Ronan Kelleher and Felipe Contepomi. 🎙 – Jason & Jamie Heaslip look back on the Irish provinces in the PRO14 over the weekend and look forward to the next round. ☘️ – Munster's last-minute heroics, a tough game for Ulster, the Bundee Aki show and business as usual for Leinster. 🏉 – Felipe Contepomi on Johnny Sexton's injury, the tighthead situation with Porter/Furlong and if the PRO14 is adequate preparation. 🤔 – Ronan Kelleher on his Ireland ambitions and finally playing an away game. ✈️ – The absolutely crazy fiasco with Sale Sharks in the English Premiership. 🤯 – Eddie Jons on rugby's financial problems, Manu Tuilagi's injury and adapting to the new breakdown interpretations. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Available now wherever you get your podcasts. 🎧

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The number eight reckons “a lot” of the current starters will need to be benched at the very least come the next World Cup and replaced by the current cohort of youngsters who need to have “20 to 30 caps” under the belt by the time they get to France.

“The guys who played the last Six Nations – we need to change a lot of those players,” Heaslip said

“I don’t think they’re starters going forward.

“You want that [new] cohort of young players to have 20 to 30 caps under their belt [come 2023]. To have that experience.“

“It’s kind of coming back to the Saracens game. You look at that Saracens team and the experience that’s in that team. They played against a lesser experience Leinster team in some key positions.

“Then there’s knock-on effect that has then when England and Ireland play – because the current England team is kind of young but is getting a lot of experience which positions them pretty well. Like they’ll be on the cusp for the next World Cup.”

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