Rugby World Cup 2023 Pool C squads: Os Lobos and Lelos confirm line-ups
Portugal and Georgia have joined Pool C rivals Wales, Australia and Fiji in naming their squads for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
Johnny Sexton will captain Ireland in France and is one of three players included in coach Andy Farrell’s squad who is heading to a fourth Rugby World Cup.
Farrell became the final Pool B coach to name his tournament squad on Sunday and has selected 15 players with previous Rugby World Cup experience in his 33-man group.
Meanwhile, Tonga's squad for Rugby World Cup 2023 includes some big names and also some notable exclusions with the inclusion of four former capped All Blacks and a Wallaby.
Captain Sonatane Takulua and hooker Paula Ngauamo will appear in their third Rugby World Cups having appeared in the previous two editions in 2015 and 2019.
Romania's squad did originally include two cap centurions in scrum-half Florin Surugiu and back-row enforcer Mihai Macovei. But the latter, also named as one of two vice-captains, has been withdrawn from the squad on the eve of the tournament due to injury, while Surugiu is in a race to be fit himself.
Scotland announced their squad on the same day as Romania with Finn Russell one of four Scotland players selected for a third Rugby World Cup.
Forwards Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist and WP Nel join Russell in heading to their third tournament. Captain Jamie Ritchie is one of 15 players overall who have previous Rugby World Cup experience.
Meanwhile, South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber named the 33-man squad tasked with successfully defending the Webb Ellis Cup earlier this month.
The squad comprises 19 forwards and 14 backs with Siya Kolisi named as captain once again having made his return from a long-term knee injury.
Alongside Sexton, test centurions Conor Murray and Keith Earls have also played at three previous tournaments but there is heartbreak for their long-term team-mate Cian Healy, who is ruled out of his fourth Rugby World Cup through injury.
Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Robbie Henshaw and Peter O’Mahony have each played at two previous tournaments while a further eight players have previous experience of the showpiece tournament.
Ireland head into RWC 2023 as the number one team in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini and will kick-off their campaign against Romania on 9 September.
Farrell said: “It has been a difficult selection process over the last number of weeks because a squad of 43 players have worked extremely hard throughout an eight-week pre-season period, with the group pushing each other on the pitch and becoming very close off it.
“As coaches, we are pleased with our 33-player selection and believe we have chosen the right group to represent Ireland in France. It is a hugely exciting time for the group as we prepare to depart for Tours and finalise our preparations for our Rugby World Cup opener against Romania.”
Forwards: Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Furlong, David Kilcoyne, Jeremy Loughman, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Dan Sheehan, Ryan Baird, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Joe McCarthy, James Ryan, Jack Conan, Caelan Doris, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier.
Backs: Craig Casey, Jamison Gibson-Park, Conor Murray, Ross Byrne, Jack Crowley, Johnny Sexton, Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart McCloskey, Garry Ringrose, Keith Earls, Mack Hansen, Hugo Keenan, James Lowe, Jimmy O’Brien.
Tonga will be without the experience of Israel Folau and Telusa Veainu due to injury but former All Blacks George Moala, Malakai Fekitoa, Vaea Fifita and Charles Piutau are included in their squad, as is former Wallabies lock Adam Coleman, who has yet to make his ‘Ikale Tahi debut.
Captain and scrum-half Sonatane Takulua, who recently became the first Tonga player to reach a half-century of caps, is one of two players along with hooker Paula Ngauamo set to appear in their third Rugby World Cups for the Ikale ‘Tahi.
Six other players have tournament experience in the former All Blacks squad player Ben Tameifuna and Siua Maile, Sam Lousi, Sitiveni Mafi, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi and Leva Fifita.
“It’s a squad I’m very proud to coach and I know all the players are looking forward to representing their families and all Tongans around the globe with pride,” said head coach Toutai Kefu.
“Unfortunately a couple of our brothers, Isileli Folau and Telusa Veainu, won’t be joining us to due to existing injuries. George Moala, with the reduction of his suspension to 5 weeks, will be able to join the squad mid-campaign.”
Forwards: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Feao Fotuaika, Tau Koloamatangi, Paula Ngauamo, Siua Maile, Samiuela Moli, Ben Tameifuna, Paula Latu, Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Leva Fifita, Samiuela Lousi, Sitiveni Mafi, Vaea Fifita, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Semisi Paea, Solomone Funaki, Sione Vailanu, Sione Havili Talitui
Backs: Sonatane Takulua, Augustine Pulu, Manu Paea, William Havili, Otumaka Mausia, Pia Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, Afusipa Taumoefolau, Fine Inisi, Solomone Kata, Salesi Piutau, Kyren Taumoefolau, Anzelo Tuitavuki.
Romania have had to make three injury-enforced changes to their squad on the eve of the tournament.
Mihai Macovei (left calf tear), Mihai Mureșan (shoulder dislocation) and Paul Popoaia (subacromial bursitis and supraspinous tendinitis) have been replaced by Andre Gorin, Lama Sioeli and Taliauli Sikuea.
Marius Iftimiciuc and Florin Surugiu, who is the oldest player in the Oaks' squad at 38 years of age, are in rehab and are set to return to training on 5 September.
Cristi Chirica has been handed the captaincy having only led the Oaks in two of his previous 34 caps. Former Tonga sevens player Tevita Manumua goes to France as one of the centres.
Lock Andrei Mahu also made his Oaks debut in the USA match earlier this month under the birthright transfer ruling and is joined in the squad by another former Moldovan international in prop Gheorge Gajion.
Forwards: Alexandru Savin, Gheorghe Gajion, Thomas Crețu, Alexandru Gordaș, Costel Burțilă, Iulian Harțig, Ovidiu Cojocaru, Robert Irimescu, Florin Bărdașu, Adrian Motoc, Marius Iftimiciuc, Ștefan Iancu, Cristi Chirica, Mihai Macovei, Vlad Neculau, Dragoș Ser, Cristi Boboc, Florian Roșu, Damian Strătilă.
Backs: Gabriel Rupanu, Florin Surugiu, Alin Conache, Gabriel Pop, Mihai Mureșan, Tudor Boldor, Nicolas Onuțu, Marius Simionescu, Tangimana Fonovai, Taylor Gontineac, Jason Tomane, Tevita Manumua, Hinckley Vaovasa, Paul Popoaia.
Ritchie leads a selection comprising 19 forwards and 14 backs and includes back-row Jack Dempsey, who played for Australia at RWC 2019.
Second-row Gray, meanwhile, is the most-capped player selected with 75, and is one of seven players named who have made more than 50 Scotland appearances.
At the opposite end of the experience spectrum is Ben Healy, the fly-half who has been capped only three times to date.
The squad contains 14 players each from Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, with four exiles (Chris Harris, Cameron Redpath, Russell and Ben White) and Rory Sutherland, unattached since recently leaving Ulster Rugby.
Forwards: Jamie Bhatti, Zander Fagerson, WP Nel, Pierre Schoeman, Javan Sebastian, Rory Sutherland, Ewan Ashman, Dave Cherry, George Turner, Scott Cummings, Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray, Sam Skinner, Luke Crosbie, Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey, Matt Fagerson, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson.
Backs: George Horne, Ali Price, Ben White, Ben Healy, Finn Russell, Chris Harris, Huw Jones, Cameron Redpath, Sione Tuipulotu, Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Ollie Smith, Kyle Steyn, Duhan van der Merwe.
Props Frans Malherbe and Trevor Nyakane, second-row Eben Etzebeth, back-row forwards Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen, centres Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel and full-back Willie le Roux will feature in their third Rugby World Cup after being named in Nienaber's 33-man squad.
Those nine players are members of an even larger group who featured in the triumphant campaign of 2019 when the Springboks lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time following a 32-12 win over England in the final in Yokohama.
Also returning from 2019 are Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch (prop), Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx (hooker), RG Snyman (second row), Kwagga Smith (loose forward), Franco Mostert (utility forward), Faf de Klerk and Cobus Reinach (scrum-half), Damian Willemse (utility back), Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi (wing).
Fly-half Handre Pollard (calf), Lukhanyo Am (knee) and Lood de Jager (chest problem) have been placed on standby with six other players.
“Since Rassie (Erasmus – SA Rugby Director of Rugby) and I returned to South Africa in 2018 we’ve been building to the 2023 World Cup, and we are pleased with where we are, going into this World Cup," said Nienaber.
"The coaches and players have put in a helluva lot of work in the last few years, and we have the luxury of naming a squad that features a big group of players who know what it takes to win a World Cup and who will enter the tournament with vast international experience."
Forwards: Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Jean Kleyn, Marvin Orie, Franco Mostert, Dean Fourie, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese.
Backs: Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams, Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse, Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie.