Ireland coach Ged Corcoran has warned there are more big names to come and believes the rugby league community will be stunned when he names the Wolfhounds men’s World Cup side next month.
Sydney Roosters’ Luke Keary this week confirmed our World In Waiting column item about his own commitment to the Irish – but also let another name slip: Leeds star Richie Myler, who has seven England caps.
Other players already linked to Ireland include: NSW Cup player James Hasson, Gold Coast prop Jaimin Jolliffe, Canterbury hooker Josh Cook, Wigan forward Harry Rushton, Hull KR threequarter Louis Senior, his brother, Wakefield’s Innes and Huddersfield centre Toby King.
But Corcoran says: “There are more to come. When we name our side, there’s going to be a lot of people surprised, a lot of talk and a lot of excitement.
“There has been fantastic engagement since I came on board with the very top level of players and there are some big names yet to be announced.”
Corcoran’s assistant is Joe O’Callaghan, who is head of elite pathways and development at South Sydney.
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The coach says Myler, 32, first made himself available before the 2017 tournament and “then contacted me again a while back. He qualifies via his father’s side of the family.”
The utility star can cover the halves or fullback and Corcoran says he has an open mind on the matter.
But RLI chairman Jim Reynolds adds: “He is not automatically on the team as some reports suggest this morning – every player will be fighting for their place and as Ged has made clear, a big criterion is their passion to represent Ireland.”
And that culture is to underpinned by what Corcoran calls “the spirit of 2000” – in reference to the Irish side that qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals, losing 26-16 to England in a bruising encounter at Headingley.
“That was probably the best side ever to represent Ireland and it was driven by the players,” says Corcoran, who later amassed 11 Irish caps himself.
“I am still in regular contact with Terry O’Connor and Barrie McDermott from that team and that is what we are out to recreate.
“We don’t want blokes who want to play for us every four years, we want those who want to play every year and get as many caps as they can.
“We will be loyal to players who have been loyal to us and when we add new fellas, it will be because they fit into our ethos as a team.”
Leeds coach Rohan Smith was on Friday asked during a club press conference about Myler playing for Ireland, saying he believed he would be a valuable
addition to the Wolfhounds set-up.
Keary was last week pictured at Brookvale Oval with Ireland sponsor and official Rory O’Hara, a Republic of Ireland flag, businessman John Sullivan and O’Hara’s children Roisin and Paddy.
Ireland will take on Jamaica, New Zealand and Lebanon at RLWC2021 – secure your place at rlwc2021.com/tickets