Ireland’s World Cup hopes rest in the hands of their British & Irish Lions according to former international Shane Horgan.
Ireland won back-to-back Six Nations titles last month to lead them into the World Cup in England with confidence high.
And with Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray in the half-backs, both of whom appeared in the decisive Lions victory over Australia in the third Test in Sydney in 2013, they are not short of leadership.
That is not to mention the likes of Paul O’Connell and Jamie Heaslip who have featured on five Lions tours between them.
And Horgan admits that Joe Schmidt’s troops are better placed than ever before to challenge for the World Cup when it gets underway this autumn.
“I think Ireland have the capacity to win the competition,” said Horgan – who toured New Zealand with the Lions back in 2005.
“It's a very good group of players that have had significant success in their careers.
“You've got key decision-makers in the key positions, Murray and Sexton both performing well, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip going well too.
“Now there's a front-row that has four props that can hold their own at Test level.
“And then there's Joe Schmidt who is an exceptional technical coach, and those things combined are providing a successful period."
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