Ireland national rugby union team: Wikis


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Ireland rugby.png
Union Irish Rugby Football Union
Nickname(s) Boys in Green
Emblem(s) the Shamrock
Ground(s) Croke Park, Dublin (temporary, until 2010) Aviva Stadium, Dublin (from 2010)
Coach(es) Declan Kidney
Captain(s) Brian O'Driscoll
Most caps John Hayes (101)
Top scorer Ronan O'Gara (950)
Most tries Brian O'Driscoll (38)
Team kit
Change kit
First international
 England 7 - 0 Ireland Ireland 
(15 February 1875)
Largest win
 United States 3 - 83 Ireland 
(10 June 2000)
Worst defeat
 New Zealand 59 - 6 Ireland 
(6 June 1992)
World Cup
Appearances 6 (First in 1987)
Best result Quarter Finals, 1987, 1991, 1995, 2003

The Ireland Rugby Union Team represents the island of Ireland (both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) in rugby union. Ireland are the current Six Nations Champions. The team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship (which they have won eleven times outright and shared eight times) and every four years in the Rugby World Cup, where they have been eliminated at the quarter-final stage in all but two competitions (1999 and 2007). Ireland is also one of the four unions which make up the British and Irish Lions - players eligible to play for Ireland are also eligible for the Lions. Eight former Ireland players have earned induction into the International Rugby Hall of Fame, with four of them also having earned induction into the IRB Hall of Fame.

Outside centre Brian O'Driscoll, the current captain and Ireland's current all-time leading try scorer, is considered one of the best rugby players in the world and led Ireland to only their second Grand Slam in March 2009. He was also captain of the Lions on their 2005 tour of New Zealand, although his on-field captaincy was cut short by a controversial injury in the Lions' first Test. O'Driscoll was succeeded as Lions captain for their 2009 tour of South Africa by his current teammate, lock Paul O'Connell. Keith Wood, O'Driscoll's predecessor as Ireland captain before retiring in 2003, was the inaugural IRB International Player of the Year in 2001.

Ireland's highest ever position in the IRB World Rankings is third which they reached in 2003 and 2006. They currently lie in fifth position as of 18 February 2010 after their defeat by France in the six nations.[1]



Early years

Caid is an ancient sport played in Ireland with strong similarities to rugby, it was played within a defined space and between a predetermined number of players. The Cork born Reece Lockhart founded a club at Joe's chipper in 1854, in Cork. By 1867, Trinity second XV were playing matches against St. Columba’s College and Hume High Street, two Leinster schools and, importantly for the game in the north of the country, Royal School, Dungannon. Following the adoption of a set of official rules in 1868, rugby football began to spread quickly throughout Ireland.

First Ireland rugby team: played England at the Oval on 19 February 1875 and lost by 2 goals and a try to nil

In 1874, the Irish Football Union (reconstituted as the Irish Rugby Football Union after unification with the North of Ireland Union) was formed. Ireland lost their first test match against England 7-0 at the Oval on 15 February 1875. Both teams fielded 20 players in this match[2] as was customary in the early years of rugby union; it was not until 1877 that the number of players was reduced from 20 to 15. Ireland's first home game was also against England in the same year held at the Leinster Cricket Club in Rathmines as Lansdowne Road was deemed unsuitable. The first match at Lansdowne Road was held on 11 March 1878 with England beating Ireland by 2 goals and 1 try to nil.

It was not until 1881 that they first won a test, against Scotland at Ormeau in Belfast. Ireland turned up two men short for their game in Cardiff in 1884 and had to borrow two Welsh players. The first victory Ireland had at Lansdowne Road took place on 5 February 1887. It was also their first win over England, by two goals to nil. On the third of March 1888, Ireland recorded their first win over Wales with a goal, a try and a drop goal to nil.

In 1894 for the first time, Ireland followed the Welsh model of using seven backs instead of six. After victory over England at Blackheath, Ireland won back-to-back matches for the first time when recording their first win over Scotland on 24 February 1894. Ireland went on to beat Wales in Belfast and win the Triple Crown for the first time.

In the 1890s Rugby was primarily a game for the Protestant middle class, the only Catholic in Edmund Forrest’s 1894 team was Tom Crean. Of the eighteen players used in the three games, thirteen were from three Dublin clubs –Wanderers, Dublin University and Bective Rangers – and the remaining five were from Ulster. They went on to win the Home international championship twice more before the old century was out (1896 and 1899), so that by 1900 all four of the Home Unions had tasted success at a game that was growing in popularity with players and spectators.

Twentieth century

1920 illustration of the Ireland versus Wales rugby match

Such was the level of interest in the visit of the first All Blacks team to Dublin in November 1905 that the IRFU made the match the first all-ticket rugby international in history. Ireland played only seven forwards, copying the then New Zealand method of playing a "rover". The game ended New Zealand 15 Ireland 0.

On 20 March 1909, Ireland played France for the first time, beating them 19-8. This was Ireland's biggest victory in international rugby at that time, their highest points tally and a record five tries. 30 November 1912 was the first time the Springboks met Ireland at Lansdowne Road, the 1906 tour game having been played at Ravenhill. Ireland with seven new caps were overwhelmed by a record margin of 38-0, still a record loss to South Africa who scored 10 tries. In 1926, Ireland went into their final Five Nations match unbeaten and with the Grand Slam at stake lost to Wales in Swansea. Ireland again came close to a grand slam in 1927 when their sole loss was an 8-6 defeat by England.

Post war

Ireland's finest hour arguably came in 1948 when, inspired by tactician and fly-half Jack Kyle, they beat France in Paris, England at Twickenham and a 6-0 win over Scotland at Lansdowne Road. They clinched their first Grand Slam in the Five Nations with a win against Wales at Ravenhill, Belfast. Ireland were champions and Triple Crown winners again in 1949.

The Irish used only 19 players in clinching the 1949 Championship and Triple Crown, only the fourth time that the Triple Crown had been retained by a home nation.

In 1951, Ireland were once more crowned outright Five Nations champions and were unbeaten going into their final game. They failed to win the Grand Slam or Triple Crown following a 3-3 draw with Wales in Cardiff.

The year of 1952 saw only Ireland's second overseas tour, the first for over half a century - as they headed to Argentina for a nine-match trip which included two Test matches. Ireland won six, drew two and lost one of the matches, their Test record being won one, drawn one.

On 27 February 1954, Ireland were due to play Scotland at Ravenhill in Belfast. The new Irish captain, Jim McCarthy, told IRFU president Sarsfield Hogan that the eleven Republic-based players would not stand for "God save the Queen" alongside the Scottish team. It was agreed that an abbreviated anthem, known in Ulster as "the Salute", would be played that afternoon and that the Irish team would never play again at Ravenhill. Ireland went on to beat Scotland 6-0 but would not play in Northern Ireland again until 2007.[3]

On 18 January 1958 Ireland beat Australia 9-6 in Dublin, this was the first time a major touring team had been defeated.

Sixties and seventies

Ireland managed just three victories in the Five Nations Championship; against England in 1961, Wales in 1963 and England again in 1964. There were also draws against England and Wales at Lansdowne Road to the end of 1964.

1965 saw an improvement as Ireland drew with France before beating England and Scotland, only for their Triple Crown hopes disappear against Wales in Cardiff. On 10 April 1965 Ireland recorded their first ever win over South Africa. The match, held at Lansdowne Road, was heading for a draw with the score at six points each, when Tom Kiernan won the match for Ireland with a late penalty. Ireland beat Australia again in Dublin in 1967 and became the first of the home nations to win in the Southern Hemisphere when they beat Australia in Sydney in May 1967.

On 26 October 1968, Ireland made it four successive wins over the Wallabies with a 16-3 win at Lansdowne Road.

In 1969, Ireland claimed a 17-9 victory over France at Lansdowne Road in the Five Nations, a first victory over Les Bleus in 11 years. They were again unbeaten going into their final game in Cardiff but Wales denied them a Grand Slam for the third time. In the autumn of 1969, the Irish Rugby Football Union decided to appoint a coach for the national team for the first time, the role went to Ronnie Dawson.

The 1972 Five Nations Championship was not completed when Scotland and then Wales refused to play in Ireland following threatening letters to players, purportedly from the IRA. The championship remained unresolved with Wales and Ireland unbeaten. In 1973, despite similar threats, England fulfilled their fixture and were given a standing ovation that lasted for five minutes. Ireland won 18-9 and at the after-match dinner the England captain, John Pullin famously remarked "We might not be very good but at least we turn up". Ireland came close to a first win over the All Blacks on 20 January 1973 but with the score at 10-10 an Irish conversion attempt was pushed wide by a gust of wind. In the final match of the 1974 season, Ireland won their first Five Nations Championship since 1951.

Roly Meates was national coach from 1975 to 1977 and Noel Murphy from 1977 to 1980. Willie John McBride was coach until 1984.

Eighties and Nineties

In 1982 Ireland came close to winning a Grand Slam but were beaten by France in Paris. They beat Scotland, Wales and England to win the championship and their first Triple Crown in 33 years.

Three years after their last Triple Crown win, Ireland, coached by Mick Doyle, came out in 1985 and won the Championship and the Triple Crown again. They beat Scotland and Wales. The French again prevented Ireland from claiming a Grand Slam after a 15-15 draw in Dublin. Ireland played England at Lansdowne Road and won the championship with a last minute drop goal from Michael Kiernan. The match ended 13-10 to Ireland. It would be Ireland's last silverware until 2004.

Ireland were whitewashed in the 1986 Five Nations Championship but on 1 November 1986, Ireland made history when they scored 10 tries against Romania in a 60-0 win. It was the biggest win in international rugby at the time, equaling the French record set in 1967.

At the inaugural World Cup in 1987, two straightforward victories over Tonga and Canada were enough to see Ireland through to the quarter-finals, when they travelled to Sydney to face the joint hosts Australia, only to be beaten 33-15.

In the Five Nations, England and France were dominant throughout the decade, resulting in the others scrapping around for the odd Championship title. Ireland didn't manage to win the trophy once in the whole decade and worse never finished outside the bottom two.

The second Rugby World Cup took place in Britain, Ireland and France in 1991. Ireland found themselves in the same pool as Scotland. After two easy wins over Japan and Zimbabwe, Scotland sneaked a 24-15 win at Murrayfield. Ireland would play the Wallabies at Lansdowne Road in the quarter final. Ireland appeared to be on the verge of a shock victory over Australia, when Michael Lynagh scored the winning try to clinch a 19-18 win for Australia.

At the 1994 Five Nations Championship, Ireland beat Will Carling's all-conquering England at Twickenham.

At the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, Ireland were in a group containing the All Blacks and Wales. In a close game in Johannesburg, Ireland sneaked through 24-23 against Wales to make their third consecutive quarter-final appearance. Unfortunately France proved too strong, with Ireland going down 36-12.

Professional era

Ireland playing at Croke Park.

The start of the professional era was disappointing for Ireland who finished bottom in the Five Nations Championship three years in succession (1996, 1997 and 1998). Englishman Brian Ashton was head coach between 1997 and 1998, but after a series of disappointing results resigned barely 12 months into the six year contract he had been awarded by the IRFU. Warren Gatland took over as coach in 1998, but was unable to produce immediate success and 1999 was the first time Ireland failed to reach the last eight at a Rugby World Cup. From this nadir, however, Irish rugby improved rapidly. With the advent of professionalism, the Irish Rugby Football Union decided to convert the four representative provincial sides into de facto club sides, with the financial capacity to retain top talent in Ireland, yet retaining strong links with amateur clubs and schools to enable young talent to be brought up through the ranks. The close geographical proximity of most of the Irish international squad helped cement relationships between the players in a way that would not have been possible had they left for English, French and Southern Hemisphere clubs. The later formation of the Celtic League (Now called the Magners League for sponsorship reasons) cemented this strategy by ensuring that provincial sides had a regular schedule of competitive rugby.

The 1999 World Cup was staged in Wales though Ireland played all their pool games in Dublin. A defeat to the Wallabies meant Ireland having to go down the play-off route. Playing away from Lansdowne Road for the first time in the competition, Ireland were beaten 28-24 by Argentina in Lens.

The advent of the new Six Nations format coincided with this Irish resurgence, and they became the strongest of the Celtic nations. In 2001 the rugby union season was disrupted due to the foot and mouth crisis in Britain. Ireland were good enough to beat France but were unable to play Scotland until the Autumn and were caught cold losing 32-10. They were still good enough to beat England, spoiling their hopes of a Grand Slam, and finishing second on points difference. Eddie O'Sullivan took over as coach from Warren Gatland in November 2001 following the New Zealander's sacking.

The 2003 Six Nations Championship came down to the wire with Ireland and England playing a Grand Slam decider at Lansdowne Road. England, however, won 42-6. That defeat ended an unbeaten run that stretched back 10 Tests to their Rugby World Cup qualifiers warm up against Romania in September 2002 and included defeats of Pool A rivals Australia and Argentina at Lansdowne Road. In 2004 they lost their opening game against France but became the first team to beat England following their World Cup win. They finished second in the table behind France and won the Triple Crown.

In 2005 Ireland were considered slight favourites entering the Six Nations Championships, and won their first three matches, including a 19-13 defeat of England in Dublin. However, Ireland's dreams of their first Grand Slam since 1948 were ended with a 26-19 home loss to France. In the final round, Wales defeated Ireland 32-20 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to win the Grand Slam. Ireland finished in 3rd place. In 2006, Ireland showed the capacity to play top class rugby, but only inconsistently - a rout of Wales was balanced by uncertain victories against England , Scotland and Italy and a comprehensive defeat by winners France. Ireland finished second and won the Triple Crown for the second time in three years, incidentally the first ever time a trophy had been awarded for the feat.

Ireland scrum against Scotland during the 2007 Six Nations Championship.

They then embarked on their annual tour to the southern hemisphere. There they ran New Zealand close twice before a tired Ireland were thumped by the Wallabies in Perth. They returned to their clubs before they gathered once more for the last Autumn Internationals at Lansdowne Road. The South Africans came with an experimental side with an eye on the Rugby World Cup 2007, which was soundly beaten by the Irish 32-15. Next to Lansdowne were Australia with a much more formidable squad. The weather ruined what many had tipped to be the battle of the backlines, although Geordan Murphy finished off a world class move in their 21-6 victory. That win propelled Ireland to a best ever height of 3rd in the IRB World Rankings. In the final international match at Lansdowne, Ireland thumped the Pacific Islanders 61-17,with Paddy Wallace putting in a man of the match performance with 26 points. The win completed a hat-trick of victories.

In March 2007 the IRFU created the "High Performance Select Group" of up and coming Irish players who have been earmarked for future Irish teams. This group includes Luke Fitzgerald, Barry Murphy, Tommy Bowe,Rob Kearney, Daniel Riordan, Stephen Ferris, Roger Wilson,and Jamie Heaslip, some of whom have already been capped. The aim of the group is to provide these young players with the support and infrastructure available to the senior squad and to ease their future transition into the Irish team.[4]

With the announcement of the rebuilding of Lansdowne Road, a new venue was required to stage Ireland's home internationals. While Ireland are planning to play one of their warm up matches for the 2007 World Cup at Ravenhill, the only stadium in Ireland capable of holding major rugby internationals was Croke Park, home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. To accommodate this, the GAA temporarily relaxed its rule governing the playing of so-called "foreign games" on its property. Initially, two Six Nations games were played at Croke Park during 2007; the first was a 17-20 loss to France, and the second a 43 to 13 win over England.

Ireland began their 2008 Six Nations Campaign with a narrow win over Italy.[5] France then edged Ireland out in Paris,[6] before they went on to beat Scotland in Dublin,[7] Ireland then lost to eventual Grand Slammers Wales and England.

In March 2008, Eddie O'Sullivan resigned as Ireland coach after the disappointing Six Nations and World Cup campaigns.[8]

Declan Kidney was subsequently appointed as manager but did not take up this role formally until after Ireland's tour of New Zealand and Australia (losing to the All Blacks 21-11 and Australia 18-12). His first official game in charge was against Canada at Thomond Park which Ireland won 55-0.[9]

Ireland won the 2009 Six Nations Championship and Grand Slam by beating Wales at the Millennium Stadium 15-17 on 21 March 2009, the first time they had won the championship since 1985, and the first time they had won the Grand Slam since 1948. Ireland also became only the second team (after Wales in 2005) to win a Six Nations Grand Slam after playing more away games than at home.[10][11] The Ireland team arrived home on 22 March 2009 at Dublin airport to a heroes welcome. Afterwards around 18,000 fans turned out at the Mansion House to greet the team after clinching the first Grand Slam for Ireland in 61 years. After Autumn Series victories against Fiji and South Africa and a draw against Australia, Ireland ended 2009 unbeaten.

Ireland began the 2010 Six Nations with a home game against Italy, winning 29-11. Their second game was away to France in a match which many saw as the decider for this years competition. France ran out comfortable winners, the final score being 33-10. After a one week break Ireland were away to England. In a close game Ireland eventually emerged victorious, a Tommy Bowe try and Ronan O'Gara conversion winning the match 16-20. After another one week break Ireland were back at Croke Park against Wales. Ireland were comfortable winners, beating Wales 27-12 after a Man-of-the-Match performance from Tomas O'Leary. [12]

Flags and anthems

The Irish rugby union team is one of a few national sporting teams on the island that draws widespread support in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, and from both nationalist and unionist communities. As Ireland represents players from different sovereign territories, there has been controversy over the flags and anthems. When Irish internationals were played alternately in Belfast and Dublin, the British national anthem "God Save the Queen" was played for matches in Belfast and the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland "Amhrán na bhFiann" was played for matches in Dublin. No anthem was played at away games.

Since April 1995, a specially composed anthem, "Ireland's Call" has been used by the Irish team in away games.[13] This has prompted some players and supporters from the Republic to complain that "Amhrán na bhFiann" should be played.[14] At games played in Dublin "Ireland's Call" is always used alongside "Amhrán na bhFiann".[15] This use of "Amhrán na bhFiann" has caused similar complaints from players and supporters from Northern Ireland.[citation needed] With Ireland's friendly game against Italy in the run up to the Rugby World Cup scheduled to be held in Belfast, there were calls for "God Save the Queen" to be used alongside Ireland's Call but this was turned down by the IRFU[16] with the explanation given that it was not a 'home' match because the team would be playing "outside Ireland".[17]

Similarly, the Irish tricolour, the official flag of the Republic of Ireland is flown only when playing in the Republic. A flag with symbols representing the four provinces of Ireland, is flown alongside the Irish tricolour in Dublin, and is used exclusively when playing elsewhere.[citation needed] At some matches, the standard of the island's rugby union governing body, the Irish Rugby Football Union, is displayed on the field during pre-match ceremonies.[citation needed] Many supporters in the crowd at Ireland matches wave the tricolour of the Republic of Ireland, though part of the island is not in the Republic of Ireland.

Home grounds

Lansdowne Road, the home of Irish rugby, seen here during a Munster-Leinster game.

The traditional home of Irish rugby is the Lansdowne Road stadium in Dublin, where most of Ireland's home matches are held. The stadium, owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union, was built in 1872 and is the oldest international rugby venue that is still used for the sport. In 1878 the ground hosted its first rugby Test, with Ireland playing host to the English (the first representative rugby match had taken place prior to the Test, a game between Ulster and Leinster). Lansdowne Road had a capacity of just over 49,000 before it was demolished in Summer 2007. A new 50,000 all-seater stadium, to be known as Aviva Stadium, is being built around the existing pitch and is now projected to be complete in April 2010. The final Irish Test prior to work commencing on the stadium was against the Pacific Islanders in late 2006. With Lansdowne Road unavailable for use, Ireland was without a suitable home ground for the subsequent Six Nations. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) owned Croke Park (an 82,500 capacity stadium) was made available for Ireland's two home games against France and England in 2007. It was the first time ever that rugby was played at the venue.

The first Ireland match at Aviva Stadium will be against reigning World Cup champions South Africa on 6 November 2010. Because of the historic significance of this match, South Africa announced that they would wear their change strip to allow Ireland to wear their home green; normally, the home team change their colours in case of a clash.[18]

Although Ireland has never totally hosted the Rugby World Cup, select games from both the 1991 and 1999 World Cups were played throughout venues in Ireland. Pool B in 1991 was mainly played in Ireland and Scotland, with two games at Lansdowne Road (involving Ireland) and one (Zimbabwe v Japan) played at Ravenhill, Belfast. A quarter-final and a semi-final were also hosted by Dublin. A similar system was used in 1999, though in addition to Lansdowne and Ravenhill, Thomond Park was also a venue. Lansdowne Road was also the host of a quarter-final in 1999. Ireland were set to host matches at Lansdowne Road for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but due to scheduling conflicts with the reconstruction of the stadium, they decided they were not in a position to host any.[19]


Six Nations

Ireland's Grand slam trophy haul in 2009

The Six Nations Championship, held every year in February and March is Ireland's only annual tournament. It is contested against England, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Ireland was a member of the inaugural Home Nations in 1883 - with France and Italy joining later to form the Five and Six Nations respectively. Ireland won their first championship in 1894, winning the Triple Crown also. Ireland's first Grand Slam occurred in the 1948 season and their second in the 2009 season. In total Ireland have been champions on eleven occasions.






Tournaments 107 77 107 9 107 107
Outright Wins (Shared Wins)
Home Nations 5 (4) - 4 (3) - 9 (2) 7 (3)
Five Nations 17 (6) 12 (8) 6 (5) - 5 (6) 15 (8)
Six Nations 3 4 1 0 0 2
Overall 25 (10) 16 (8) 11 (8) 0 (0) 14 (8) 23 (11)
Grand Slams 12 8 2 0 3 10
Triple Crowns 23 N/A 10 N/A 10 19

World Cup

Ireland have competed at every Rugby World Cup since the tournament was first held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987. The furthest Ireland have progressed at any World Cup has been to the quarter-finals, which they have made four times. After a loss to Wales, Ireland finished second in their pool in 1987 but were then knocked out by Australia in their quarter final in Sydney. In 1991 Ireland again lost only the one match in pool play (to Scotland). They again met the Australians in the quarter-finals, who defeated them by one point. Runner-up in their pool in 1995 to the All Blacks, Ireland were defeated by France in their quarter-final in Durban.

Ireland finished second in their pool in 1999, behind Australia and went into the quarter-final play-offs (a system exclusive to the 1999 tournament). There they lost to Argentina, and thus, not being a quarter-finalists, they were not given automatic entry into 2003. They defeated Russia and Georgia to go through as Europe 1. They finished second to Australia in their pool, and were knocked out by France in the quarter finals.

They started in the so-called "Group of death" with hosts France, Argentina, Namibia and Georgia in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. They played Namibia (the lowest ranked team in the World cup) in their opening game on September 9 which resulted in a narrow 32-17 win.[20] Their progress was then put into doubt when they beat Georgia 14-10, not obtaining a bonus point.[21] France's victory over Namibia 87-10 put Ireland's progression from the group in doubt, and this was compounded when the French defeated Ireland 25-3.[22] Entering their last group match against Argentina, needing four tries to secure a bonus point without allowing Argentina anything, Ireland were defeated by 30 points to 15 and crashed out at the pool stage for the first time.[23]

Current squad

Ireland named their squad for the 2010 Six Nations Championship. [24] Geordan Murphy was called into the Ireland squad for the clash against England after Rob Kearney was ruled out. [25]

Head Coach: Declan Kidney

Pos. Player DoB/Age Caps Club
HK Rory Best 15 August 1982 (1982-08-15) (age 27) 34 Ireland Ulster
HK Sean Cronin 6 May 1986 (1986-05-06) (age 23) 1 Ireland Connacht
HK Jerry Flannery 17 October 1978 (1978-10-17) (age 31) 34 Ireland Munster
HK John Fogarty 18 October 1977 (1977-10-18) (age 32) 0 Ireland Leinster
PR Tony Buckley 8 October 1980 (1980-10-08) (age 29) 14 Ireland Munster
PR Tom Court 6 November 1980 (1980-11-06) (age 29) 5 Ireland Ulster
PR Declan Fitzpatrick 12 July 1983 (1983-07-12) (age 26) 0 Ireland Ulster
PR John Hayes 2 November 1973 (1973-11-02) (age 36) 100 Ireland Munster
PR Cian Healy 7 October 1987 (1987-10-07) (age 22) 2 Ireland Leinster
PR Marcus Horan 7 September 1977 (1977-09-07) (age 32) 66 Ireland Munster
PR Mike Ross 21 December 1979 (1979-12-21) (age 30) 2 Ireland Leinster
PR Brett Wilkinson 29 November 1983 (1983-11-29) (age 26) 0 Ireland Connacht
LK Leo Cullen 9 January 1978 (1978-01-09) (age 32) 20 Ireland Leinster
LK Donncha O'Callaghan 24 March 1979 (1979-03-24) (age 30) 58 Ireland Munster
LK Paul O'Connell 20 October 1979 (1979-10-20) (age 30) 65 Ireland Munster
LK Mick O'Driscoll 8 October 1978 (1978-10-08) (age 31) 17 Ireland Munster
LK Donnacha Ryan 11 December 1983 (1983-12-11) (age 26) 3 Ireland Munster
LK Devin Toner 29 June 1986 (1986-06-29) (age 23) 0 Ireland Leinster
LK Dan Tuohy 18 June 1985 (1985-06-18) (age 24) 0 Ireland Ulster
FL Stephen Ferris 2 August 1985 (1985-08-02) (age 24) 16 Ireland Ulster
FL Shane Jennings 8 July 1981 (1981-07-08) (age 28) 5 Ireland Leinster
FL Kevin McLaughlin 20 September 1984 (1984-09-20) (age 25) 0 Ireland Leinster
FL Sean O'Brien 14 February 1987 (1987-02-14) (age 23) 2 Ireland Leinster
FL David Wallace 8 July 1976 (1976-07-08) (age 33) 57 Ireland Munster
N8 Jamie Heaslip 15 December 1983 (1983-12-15) (age 26) 21 Ireland Leinster
N8 Chris Henry 17 October 1984 (1984-10-17) (age 25) 0 Ireland Ulster
SH Isaac Boss 9 April 1980 (1980-04-09) (age 29) 12 Ireland Ulster
SH Tomás O'Leary 22 October 1983 (1983-10-22) (age 26) 11 Ireland Munster
SH Eoin Reddan 20 November 1980 (1980-11-20) (age 29) 17 Ireland Leinster
SH Peter Stringer 13 December 1977 (1977-12-13) (age 32) 91 Ireland Munster
FH Ronan O'Gara (vc) 7 March 1977 (1977-03-07) (age 33) 93 Ireland Munster
FH Jonathan Sexton 11 July 1985 (1985-07-11) (age 24) 4 Ireland Leinster
CE Gordon D'Arcy 10 February 1980 (1980-02-10) (age 30) 43 Ireland Leinster
CE Fergus McFadden 17 June 1986 (1986-06-17) (age 23) 0 Ireland Leinster
CE Brian O'Driscoll (c) 21 January 1979 (1979-01-21) (age 31) 99 Ireland Leinster
CE Paddy Wallace 27 August 1979 (1979-08-27) (age 30) 19 Ireland Ulster
WG Tommy Bowe 22 February 1984 (1984-02-22) (age 26) 25 Wales Ospreys
WG Ian Dowling 5 October 1982 (1982-10-05) (age 27) 2 Ireland Munster
WG Keith Earls 2 October 1987 (1987-10-02) (age 22) 5 Ireland Munster
WG Shane Horgan 18 July 1978 (1978-07-18) (age 31) 65 Ireland Leinster
WG Johne Murphy 10 November 1984 (1984-11-10) (age 25) 0 England Leicester Tigers
WG Andrew Trimble 20 October 1984 (1984-10-20) (age 25) 25 Ireland Ulster
FB Denis Hurley 15 July 1984 (1984-07-15) (age 25) 1 Ireland Munster
FB Rob Kearney 26 March 1986 (1986-03-26) (age 23) 19 Ireland Leinster
FB Geordan Murphy 19 April 1978 (1978-04-19) (age 31) 63 England Leicester Tigers

Notable players

International Rugby Hall of Fame

Eight former Irish players have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.

Four of these have the added honour of induction into the IRB Hall of Fame—Kyle in 2008,[26] and McBride, Millar and O'Reilly in 2009.[27]

British and Irish Lions

The following Ireland players have represented the British and Irish Lions.[28]

See also List of Ireland national rugby union footballers

Individual records

  • O'Gara holds the Ireland record for Test points with 950,[31] placing him sixth all-time in international rugby, and making him one of only seven to have reached the 900 mark. The only active players ahead of him are Jonny Wilkinson, the all-time leader, and Dan Carter. David Humphreys lies 2nd in the national list with 560 pts & Michael Kiernan is 3rd on 308 pts.
  • O'Gara is also the leading points scorer in the history of the Six Nations, having surpassed Wilkinson in Ireland's 2009 Six Nations encounter with Scotland.[32]
  • O'Driscoll is also second on the all-time list for Test matches as captain with 62, trailing only current South Africa captain John Smit (67).[34] O'Driscoll has captained Ireland 61 times and the Lions once.[35]
  • Keith Wood has the scored the most tries for a forward & he currently holds a world record for most international test tries scored by a hooker.


The IRFU first decided to appoint a coach in 1968

See also



  1. ^ "IRB World Rankings November 2009". 2009-11-11. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Irish International Teams: Results, Scorers, Dates and Venues - 1874 to June 1999". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  3. ^ Frank Keating (27 February 2007). "Frank Keating: How Ravenhill rebels made an issue out of an anthem | Sport | The Guardian". The Guardian.,,2022097,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  4. ^ Editor. "Irish Rugby : In Pics: IRFU PwC High Performance Select Group". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  5. ^ "Ireland 16-11 Italy". BBC Sport. 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  6. ^ "France 26-21 Ireland". BBC Sport. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  7. ^ "Ireland 34 Scotland 13". BBC Sport. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  8. ^ "O'Sullivan quits as Ireland coach". BBC Sport. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  9. ^ "Ireland 55-0 Canada". BBC Sport. 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  10. ^ "2009 Six Nations". BBC Sport. 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  11. ^ "Wales 15-17 Ireland". RTE Sport. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
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