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Toner misses out on Ireland RWC squad

DUBLIN (AP) — Devin Toner and his 67 caps were left out of Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad on Monday in favor of a South African-born lock who made his debut less than a month ago. Toner started 50 of Joe Schmidt's 67 tests as Ireland coach, but he was the biggest name to miss out on the squad for the World Cup in Japan this month.

His omission drew sympathy from World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot. "If I was Devin Toner ... I will be asking WR for answers. I feel sorry for him; nothing against for who was properly selected for the RWC19 by the way. But feel that way," Pichot tweeted.

Jean Kleyn, who qualified for Ireland on residency two days before his test debut on Aug. 10 in the warmup win against Italy, was picked alongside other locks Iain Henderson, James Ryan, and Tadhg Beirne.

"We had a process whereby we looked back through every training, looked through the games," Schmidt said. "There were some guys who obviously had more experience and probably had more credit in the bank and were more established and there were other guys who were trying to force their way into the group and trying to get a balance of current form versus previous performance. It's always a very, very difficult conundrum to solve."

Chris Farrell was picked ahead of Will Addison in the centers, beside Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, and Garry Ringrose. Luke McGrath edged out Kieran Marmion at scrumhalf, with Ireland taking just two nines.

The backup flyhalves to Jonathan Sexton were Joey Carbery — expected to be recovered from an ankle injury in time for the World Cup opener on Sept. 22 against Scotland — and Jack Carty. Schmidt said Sexton was over thumb and leg injuries, and will have a run in their last warmup match against Wales in Dublin on Saturday.

Hooker Rory Best was captain as expected, and will appear in his fourth and last World Cup. Eleven others have been to a World Cup. Ireland's other Pool A opponents are Japan, Russia, and Samoa.

Ireland: Forwards: Rory Best (captain), Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Dave Kilcoyne, Iain Henderson, Jean Kleyn, Peter O'Mahony, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier. Backs: Bundee Aki, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

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