Ireland Rugby World Cup squad: Cian Healy left out due to injury as Johnny Sexton captains Andy Farrell’s side

Andy Farrell has named his 33-player Ireland squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France; Cian Healy misses out due to injury and is replaced by Munster loosehead Jeremy Loughman; Johnny Sexton captains the team after completing his ban

        Ireland Rugby World Cup squad: Cian Healy left out due to injury as Johnny Sexton captains Andy Farrell's side

Cian Healy picked up an injury in Ireland’s final warm-up game before the Rugby World Cup, against Samoa

Veteran prop Cian Healy has been left out of Ireland’s 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in France due to injury.

The 35-year-old suffered a calf problem in Saturday evening’s 17-13 warm-up win over Samoa.

He was helped from the field by medical staff in the first half at Stade Jean Dauger in Bayonne before being pictured on crutches.

Munster loosehead Jeremy Loughman has taken Healy’s place.

Ulster pair Jacob Stockdale and Tom Stewart and Connacht’s Cian Prendergast miss out, with Leinster fly-half Ciaran Frawley and Munster hooker Diarmuid Barron also failing to make the cut.

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Dan Sheehan, Ronan Kelleher, Jack Conan, Dave Kilcoyne and Keith Earls have been picked, despite recent injury issues.

Fly-half Johnny Sexton, who has now completed a three-match ban, will captain his country ahead of retirement.

Ireland begin their campaign on September 9 against Romania in Bordeaux and also face Tonga, world champions South Africa and Scotland in Pool B.

Aside from the sidelined Healy, wing Stockdale is the highest profile player overlooked by head coach Andy Farrell.

The 27-year-old, Ireland’s joint-sixth-highest try-scorer with 19, has become a peripheral figure since the last World Cup amid a series of fitness setbacks.

He started against Samoa due to Earls’ late withdrawal with a niggle but was taken off with a hamstring issue.

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Veteran Earls and first-choice wide men James Lowe and Mack Hansen have been preferred to Stockdale.

Farrell’s decision to go with an 18/15 split of forwards and backs sees Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey picked and back-rower Prendergast, who started last weekend’s 29-10 win over England, overlooked.

The group includes 16 players who travelled to the 2019 World Cup in Japan under predecessor Joe Schmidt.

Sexton, Conor Murray and Earls are each set for their fourth World Cups.

Regular starters Hugo Keenan, Caelan Doris, Sheehan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Hansen and Lowe are among the 17 players preparing for their first.

Versatile back Jimmy O’Brien, fly-half Jack Crowley and lock Joe McCarthy make the cut, having only made their international debuts last November.

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Farrell: dropping players a heavy task

Farrell admitted delivering the bad news to those who had not made his World Cup squad weighed heavily upon him.

“It’s obviously difficult because you’re shattering someone’s dream,” the 48-year-old said at the announcement of his squad in Dublin on Sunday.

“You don’t want to let bad news be a shock and giving them constant feedback as to where they’re at, and players aren’t stupid either – they get a sense of where they are along the way. They made it very easy for me.

“The toughest thing is that, as a group of 42, 43 players that’s been together for nine weeks over the summer, we don’t just grow as rugby players or as a rugby team, we grow socially as well. It’s always tough to drop anyone out of that type of squad.” he added.

“It’s obvious there’s talented players missing out. It’s a dream of theirs to play in a World Cup, so it’s tough, but at the same time we’ve got to do the right thing by the squad and pick a squad of 33 and make sure we get the right balance.”

Ireland squad

Forwards: Ryan Baird (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Jeremy Loughman (Munster), Joe McCarthy (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Tom O’Toole (Ulster), Andrew Porter, (Leinster), James Ryan (Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster).

Backs: Bundee Aki (Connacht), Ross Byrne (Leinster), Craig Casey (Munster), Jack Crowley (Munster), Keith Earls (Munster), Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster), Mack Hansen (Connacht), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster), Hugo Keenan (Leinster), James Lowe (Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Johnny Sexton (Leinster, captain).