D'Arcy and Furlong on 45-man squad
GORDON D'ARCY will not settle for just making up the numbers at the Rugby World Cup.
D'Arcy, along with Tadhg Furlong, forms the Wexford contingent in Joe Schmidt's 45-man squad to begin preparations for the forthcoming World Cup campaign.
D'Arcy, now 35, failed to make the match-day 23 for any of Ireland's games as they retained the Six Nations crown earlier this year.
Furlong is just one of two uncapped players, his Leinster colleague Jack Conan being the other, to be included in the initial squad.
D'Arcy is not only confident he will make the plane, but he is targeting a place in the starting XV.
The Wexford man, who hangs up his boots after the tournament, said: 'Come October 31, come hell or high water, I will not be playing professional rugby again.
'So if I give it everything I have and I don't get picked then I can walk away going, "listen, I have had an amazing career".
'I'm absolutely busting a nut to get into the squad, and not just into the squad, but into the start line-up.
'That's my aim. You reach for the stars, if you get it, great. But if you don't, the sun will come out tomorrow and there are so many other amazing things going on in my life.
'But the motivation is there in abundance and I'm up at six in the morning. I'm doing those extra yards.
'I'm doing it before everybody else, to try and get a little jump on guys, so that when we come into camp I'm already firing,' he explained.
'Guys want to turn up at the end of June in the best shape they can. They don't want to be playing catch-up. If you are, you are not making the World Cup squad.
'The games are when you guys are going to judge us but Joe is going to judge us on the training pitch, so I need to be performing every moment.'
Meanwhile, there's great joy down Horeswood way with the inclusion of Tadhg Furlong in the squad.
Educated at Good Counsel College in New Ross, he came into the game through the local New Ross Rugby Club who are thrilled with his progress this season.
Furlong became a regular member of the Leinster squad, figuring both in the league along with European games.
This propelled him to the attention of the Irish management, although Schmidt was familiar with the player's progress through the development squad with Leinster, leading him to being called into Irish squad sessions during preparations for the Six Nations.
Schmidt will have many huge calls to make before finalising his 31-man squad, but hopes are high that both D'Arcy and Furlong will make the cut.