Ireland cancel open training session plan for second time in Japan

Joe Schmidt’s squad training against the Kobe Steelers today.

IRELAND HAVE CANCELLED plans for an open training session for the second time at the World Cup in Japan.

Joe Schmidt’s men had been planning to welcome fans to a session against local side Kobelco Steelers in the city of Kobe today but have instead trained against the Top League champions behind closed doors.

the-ireland-team-huddle Dan Sheridan / INPHO Ireland called off plans for an open session in Kobe. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland had also planned an open training session at their base in Chiba soon after arriving in Japan but that was called off due to a weather forecast of heavy rain.

Team management said that the open session in Kobe today was not going ahead due to Japan Rugby 2019, the tournament’s organising committee, failing to provide support to Ireland with the organisation and running of the event.

With both Ireland and the Steelers feeling they did not have sufficient manpower to run an open training session, which would have attracted local and travelling supporters, the plan was cancelled at a late stage yesterday. 

Japan Rugby 2019 have not responded to requests for comment.

Ireland said they would instead welcome around 100 local schoolchildren to the Steelers’ training ground following today’s session, where their players would be available to sign autographs and pose for photographs.

Schmidt’s squad did train against the Steelers today at their facility on Rokkō Island, although it’s understood that star out-half Dan Carter is not currently with the squad, who are in their off-season.

Coached by Kiwis Dave Dillon and Wayne Smith, the Steelers won this year’s Top League in Japan, with another former All Black, scrum-half Andy Ellis, captaining the team. 

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