Ireland look to Sheridan to lift World Cup hopes

Click to follow

Ireland are hoping that the current Great Britain scrum-half, Ryan Sheridan, will join them for the World Cup this autumn.

Ireland are hoping that the current Great Britain scrum-half, Ryan Sheridan, will join them for the World Cup this autumn.

The Leeds half-back, who played against Australia and New Zealand in last year's Tri-Series, qualifies for England or Ireland but, with Sean Long and possibly Paul Deacon ahead of him in the pecking order for the English team, he may well opt for the country of birth of his grandfather.

That would be a major boost for the Irish, who were in Belfast to promote the first match of the tournament yesterday.

Martin Crompton, Ireland's regular captain since the inception of the national side, is unlikely to play for his club, Salford, for the rest of the season following knee surgery.

That leaves Ireland without an experienced scrum-half and Sheridan, recently back to his best form for Leeds after recovering from injury, would be an attractive answer.

The Rugby League has ruled that players like Sheridan, who qualify for more than one country, must make their decision and prove their eligibility by 1 September. The Irish then plan to name their squad in Belfast on 13 September, although they may announce 23 rather than the maximum 24 players in order to leave a slot open for Crompton, should he prove his fitness in time.

"He is such a valuable man to have around," said the Irish team manager, Ralph Rimmer. Ireland also plan to confirm a number of Australian-born players who qualify through the grand-parental rule.

Ireland play their first game against Samoa at Windsor Park on 28 October and one of their leading players, the St Helens stand-off Tommy Martyn, said: "It's a marvellous playing surface and with a decent crowd there will be a terrific atmosphere."

Huddersfield/Sheffield have reached a financial settlement with their sacked coach, John Kear, who is in charge of England for the World Cup.

Comments