Young stars set to shine for Ireland in 2018

It was another fantastic year for Irish Rugby with a second-place finish in the Six Nations and a 100 per cent record in their three-game summer tour.

The Boys in Green earned three more victories in the Autumn, including a 38-3 win over South Africa, meaning hopes are high for an even better 2018.

We’ve picked out five young Irish talents who we’re expecting to see plenty more of over the coming 12 months.

Sam Arnold

Centre Sam Arnold announced himself on the European stage with a man of the match performance for Munster against Leicester Tigers last weekend.

The fact that he was selected by Irish rugby royalty in Brian O’Driscoll further underlines his promise.


He was still a teenager when he made his European debut for Ulster but has clearly taken another step forward since signing for Munster 18 months ago.

He made his PRO14 debut as an 18-year-old back in March 2015 and after overcoming a series of serious injuries since moving to Thomond Park appears to be back with a bang and has stepped in during Chris Farrell’s injury absence with aplomb.

Jacob Stockdale

The 21-year-old back earned his first four Ireland caps in 2017 scoring four tries in the process.

He has a 100 per cent winning record in the green of Ireland so there are understandably high expectations of what the Ulster man can achieve next year.

Stockdale is in fine form for his Irish province too, he made 112 metres in Ulster’s 52-24 win over Harlequins in the Champions Cup having scored a try in their win at the Stoop a week previously.

Adam Byrne


Young Leinster winger Adam Byrne made his international debut in 2017 in Ireland’s 28-19 victory over Argentina and will hope it is the first cap of many.

He was Leinster’s youngest ever debutant in December 2012 when he lined up against Connacht as an 18-year-old but a series of injuries halted his progress.

His breakthrough season came in 2016/17 as he made 19 starts for Leinster and scored ten tries and will be looking to repeat that success this year.

James Ryan

James Ryan has come up through the age groups with Ireland helping the Under-20s beat New Zealand on their way to a World Championship final in 2016.


And in his first game for the senior team, he took barely a minute to make an impression – coming off the bench against the USA to score in the summer.

He has now picked up four Ireland caps and the 6ft 8in lock is certainly one to watch for Leinster though he has plenty of competition for a starting spot.

Jordan Larmour

Larmour is having something of a breakthrough season with Leinster with a try on debut against Dragons followed up by two more scores from just five starts.


He’s been described by Isa Nacewa as electric and has been through the Ireland ranks representing his country at U18, U19 and U20 level to date.

He came off the bench in Leinster’s back to back European games against Exeter Chiefs this month which demonstrates the regard he is held in at the RDS.


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