The depth of talent within Irish rugby is at its best ever. Barring a couple of standouts (Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong), every position has a player of equal ability ready to step in.
This is an Ireland XV made up of some young talent with great potential and quality club players who could do the job if called upon.
Loosehead Prop: Peter Dooley
The Offaly man was probably the one who benefited most from Andrew Porter’s switch to tighthead.
Should have much more opportunities to show off his ability and challenge Jack McGrath and Cian Healy.
Hooker: Rhys Marshall
A residency pick, Marshall will qualify for Ireland in 2019. Possesses all the standard hooker skills plus a cultured boot and surprising pace.
Tighthead Prop: Conor Carey
It is a tight contest out west for the number 3 shirt, with both Conor Carey and Finlay Bealham in good form.
A capable scrummager and a hard worker around the park.
Second Row: Fineen Wycherley
The 20-year-old Corkman is one of the lightest second rows around at around 95kg but he doesn’t let it hold him back, having already made six appearances for Munster.
Second Row: Ross Molony
Thought of by many as Leo Cullen 2.0, the Leinster man is already a leader in the pack, and has captained his province several times.
Blindside: Josh Murphy
The latest product of Leinster’s never-ending back row supply, he is a tall blindside, a lineout operator in the mould of Peter O’Mahony.
Openside: Conor Oliver
A classic ball-winning openside flanker, Dubliner Oliver moved south for his opportunity, and it has paid off big time.
Man of the Match on his return from injury, Oliver will give Chris Cloete some competition at Munster.
Number 8: Max Deegan
An Ireland cap is surely not far away for Max Deegan. Formerly under-20 Player of the Year, Deegan has one of the most complete skill sets of any back row forward in the country.
Scrum-half: Caolin Blade
The Connacht 9 has a similar style to his teammate Kieran Marmion; both are small, fast and a lively threat around the ruck.
Out-Half: Johnny McPhillips
The most inexperienced in this XV, McPhillips only made his Ulster debut in December. A long-term solution to Ulster’s out-half difficulties perhaps, he looks a very promising player.
Wing: Rob Lyttle
One thing they do well up north is produce wingers, and Lyttle is the latest example. Quick, decent in the air and has a good step.
Having two of Ireland’s greatest ever wingers at his club will do great things for his development. Lyttle is also handy off the kicking tee.
Inside Centre: JJ Hanrahan
Generally deployed at 10 for Munster, the Kerryman spent a lot of his time at Northampton playing at first centre and is very capable there.
Outside Centre: Tom Farrell
Farrell has been outstanding all year for Connacht. One of the players most deserving of an Ireland cap, but unlikely to get one barring an injury crisis.
Wing: Barry Daly
Daly has gotten his chance this season and grabbed it with both hands. Great in the air and stronger than he looks, he made Charles Piutau look silly this weekend against Ulster. Daly’s claim to fame is he is the fastest player in the Leinster squad.
Full-Back: Jordan Larmour
Larmour is amazing. Its been a long time since we’ve seen a player in Ireland with such a magic ability.
Every time he gets the ball, there is a sense of anticipation and a feeling he can spark something from nothing. He has to play for Ireland in the Six Nations.