'Some of the players who play with their province are likely to be in the 31'

Joe Schmidt says players who have returned to Ulster and Leinster are very much in the World Cup mix.

ANDREW TRIMBLE AND Tommy Bowe are among the Ireland squad members to be released back to their provinces this weekend, but Joe Schmidt says that’s no indication of whether or not they will be in his final 31-man group for the World Cup.

IrelandÕs Andrew Trimble Trimble is back with Ulster this weekend.

Trimble and Bowe will play for Ulster in tomorrow’s night friendly clash with Edinburgh in Scotland, while versatile prop Michael Bent and experienced centre Gordon D’Arcy are in Leinster’s team to face Moseley.

Leo Cullen could also call on Ireland internationals Isaac Boss, Jack Conan and Fergus McFadden from the bench as Leinster welcome the English Championship side to Donnybrook tomorrow.

“We’re still very open minded about whether players are playing back in their provinces this weekend,” said Schmidt at Carton House this afternoon.

I know some of the players who play with their province are likely to be in the 31 and some of the players who are still with us are potentially going to miss out on the 31.

“That’s the nature of it.”

In relation to Trimble, who has returned from a foot injury sustained in the World Cup warm-up clash against Wales earlier this month, Schmidt pointed out that the Ulsterman needs game time after his lengthy period on the sidelines last season.

As Ireland give Keith Earls and Dave Kearney starting chances on the wings against Wales this weekend, that requirement was more likely to be fulfilled with Ulster.

Joe Schmidt Schmidt says places are still up for grabs. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Andrew’s going to play tomorrow night along with Tommy,” said Schmidt. “We only had so many positions that we could slot guys in and we were very keen to have a last look at a number of players.

“Andrew played really well in the 34 minutes that he played against Wales, but with that being the only 34 minutes he’d played in eight months, he’ll get somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes (with Ulster).

If we put him on the bench for us, it may be 20 minutes. So we think it’s a better opportunity for him to demonstrate that he’s back to full fitness.”

Luke Fitzgerald, a starter in the 11 shirt two weekends ago against Scotland, has been selected by Ireland in the outside centre slot for the visit of Warren Gatland’s side to Dublin on Saturday.

The 27-year-old has experience in the position with Leinster and Ireland, and Schmidt explained that he is simply assessing further options behind regular 13 Jared Payne.

“Luke’s played 13 before, he came on as a replacement at 13 a few years ago in the All Blacks match,” said Schmidt. “I guess it’s just making sure that we’ve got some coverage in different positions.

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Marty Moore Marty Moore trained full today at Carton House. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“What we’re trying to do is second guess if we get an injury anywhere that we’ve got someone in the group that can cover it. We obviously had Keith Earls play there already (against Wales), so we want to make sure we’ve got some good coverage there.”

Marty Moore trained with Ireland at Carton House earlier today, and Ireland’s coaching staff are now waiting on the medical verdict as to how his foot injury withstood the session.

With Nathan White starting at tighthead against Wales, Schmidt said the door still remains open for Moore even if the Connacht prop can push his own claim as he wins a second Ireland cap.

He trained fully and we’ll see how he pulls up tomorrow,” said Schmidt of Moore.

“Nathan gets a chance to push himself, it doesn’t influence too much what Marty is doing. He can certainly get out there and build on what I thought was a really good performance, albeit a cameo, against Scotland.”

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