A big year ahead for Kildare's boys in green with Slam defence and World Cup

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A big year ahead for Kildare's boys in green with Slam defence and World Cup
7:00 Saturday 12th of January 2019

2019 will be an important year for Kildare's rugby internationals such as Joey Carbery and Tadhg Beirne.

The stakes are high with Ireland defending their Six Nations crown - and it's World Cup Year with the boys in green ranked second in the world going into the tournament for the first time..

There should be plenty of chances for fringe players like James Tracy and Adam Byrne from Kill to get some game time and precious international caps with a busy fixture schedule in coming months.

Joey Carbery

Athy native Carbery, still only 23, seems to be peaking at exactly the right time as the international season starts in earnest.

He scored his fourth try of the season for Munster in the vital Interpros clash against Connacht last weekend to secure a bonus point and, ultimately, the victory.

But more importantly, he delivered an excellent, well-rounded performance - probably his best in the red jersey since his protracted move from Leinster last Summer. 

With Joe Schmidt keen to preserve his number one outhalf Johnny Sexton, Carbery should be set a number of starts in the Six Nations to test his mettle under pressure.

Six Nations

Ireland play England in the Aviva in Dublin on Saturday, February 2.

Next up is away to Scotland a week later in Murrayfield.

Ireland play Italy in Rome on February 24 before taking on France at home on March 10.

With a six-day turnaround, t he final game is against Wales in Cardiff on March 16.

Guinness Summer Series

In addition, Ireland will also play four fixtures as part of the 2019 Guinness Summer Series in preparation for the World Cup in Japan.

Ireland will host Italy on Saturday, August 10 at the Aviva Stadium before playing England at Twickenham on Saturday, August 24 and Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, August 31.

Wales are the opposition again as Schmidt's men play their final fixture at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, September 7 before heading off to Japan.

Tadhg Beirne

Former European Player of the Year nominee Tadhg Beirne, who has just turned 27,  is proving himself as a very mobile utility forward across the pitch for Munster and Ireland.

The Eadestown native is known for his driving runs and he is proving very effective in the lineouts as well.

He's a regular in the Ireland squad now and to think that a couple of years ago he had almost abandoned his dream of making it as a professional rugby player and was ready for a career in property.

James Tracy

Kill native James Tracy (27), who came on against Ulster last weekend, already has six caps as hooker for Ireland.

As Schmidt adds depth to his squad before the World Cup, he will no doubt be dealing with injuries and loss of form of some players in coming months.

This is bound to create opportunities for Tracy who is certain to come to his attention for his impressive scrummaging and lineout work.

Adam Byrne

Another Kill man, Adam Byrne (24) who started on the wing for Leinster in the recent Interpros game against Ulster, is another fringe option for Schmidt in World Cup year.

Built big and fast like a modern winger, Byrne has the strength to shrug off tackles and has the acceleration to get to the line.

With injuries mounting up, the Kill lad could be an ideal call-up to the squad.

He has just one international cap so far against Argentina in 2017.

Rugby World Cup 

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the ninth Rugby World Cup, and is to be held in Japan from 20 September to 2 November.

The World Cup kicks off on September 20 with the opening game between two of Ireland's opponents - Russia and Japan in Tokyo.

Ireland play Scotland in Yokohama on September 22 followed by Japan in Fukuroi six days later.

The next match is against Russia in Kobe on October 3 and this will lead on to the Samoa game in Fukuoka on October 12.

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