By Simon Lewis
Joe Schmidt's hopes of a grand unveiling of his Ireland World Cup squad on Tuesday look to have been scuppered after apparent leaks of his 31-man panel spread across the media tonight.
The head coach will officially confirm the names of the players he will take to the tournament later this month at Ireland's Carton House training base tomorrow afternoon but the announcement seems to have been pre-empted by the emergence of a squad list from various sources, in which wing Andrew Trimble and a third specialist scrum-half appear to be the notable absentees while tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong and centre Darren Cave look to be the surprise inclusions.
Loosehead prop Cian Healy appears on course to make his first appearance of pre-season this Saturday in Ireland's final warm-up Test against tournament hosts England having recovered from neck surgery in May.
Yet the inclusion of Furlong as a third tighthead behind Mike Ross and Nathan White rather than a third covering loosehead such as Michael Bent or Dave Kilcoyne suggests the medical update on Healy's rehabilitation has been more advanced than imagined.
White's inclusion also comes at the expense of Marty Moore, who, like Healy, has not featured this summer due to injury.
Trimble, Ireland's player of 2014, came through 80 minutes for Ulster last Friday but looks to have paid the price for a season lost to a toe injury. He lasted only 34 minutes in Wales last month before succumbing to a foot injury and that was clearly not enough to convince Schmidt.
Both Keith Earls (head) and Luke Fitzgerald (glute) are in although they failed to finish the 16-10 home defeat to Wales on Saturday but their flexibility as midfield cover has proven persuasive with medical updates due on the pair on Monday.
The biggest gamble, however, appears to be the inclusion of only two specialist scrum-halves, Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan, with Schmidt preferring to free up a spot for an extra outside back. Fly-half Ian Madigan, already the Irish set-up's most versatile back providing cover at inside centre and full-back, is the putative third option at nine.
Hookers: Rory Best, Sean Cronin, Richardt Strauss.
Props: Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Jack McGrath, Mike Ross, Nathan White.
Locks: Iain Henderson, Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner.
Back row: Jamie Heaslip, Chris Henry, Jordi Murphy, Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony.
Scrum-halves: Conor Murray, Eoin Reddan.
Fly-halves: Paddy Jackson, Ian Madigan, Johnny Sexton.
Centres: Darren Cave, Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne.
Back three: Tommy Bowe, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Dave Kearney, Rob Kearney, Simon Zebo.