Darren Cave allegedly suggested that his face "doesn't fit" in the Ireland squad. INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey
Selection headache

Joe Schmidt plays down Darren Cave’s ‘my face doesn’t fit’ comments

The Ireland coach says the Ulster player insists his words were taken “out of context”.

IRELAND COACH JOE Schmidt has played down remarks attributed to Ulster’s Darren Cave in a controversial recent interview.

Cave was alleged to have suggested that his “face doesn’t fit” the Irish set-up in a recent interview after he was once again snubbed for selection against the All Blacks, however Schmidt today said that the player called him to say that the remarks had been taken “out of context”.

“I think the media sometimes vent those [ill feelings] more so than the players,” Schmidt said.

“I had a phone call from the player who was pretty disappointed with [the article]. Like anyone, you can have things taken out of context. I haven’t seen the article to be honest. He said that if you read through the article, it doesn’t match with what’s heading the article or the lead paragraph.

“I have a pretty good relationship with Darren. The fact that he rang me this morning to explain that he’d been taken out of context [is a good sign], and we’ve had pretty good discussions. Darren trained well in camp. He didn’t get selected. He’s got a couple of things that he’s working on. He’s pretty positive about the clarity that he’s got.”

Schmidt emphasised that given the quality at his disposal, a number of talented players will inevitably be disappointed.

“I know that you can’t keep everyone happy all the time and I know there were some players who were disappointed not to be selected for some of the games during the series. As coach, you have to take responsibility for those decisions. I’d be the first to admit that I don’t get all the decisions right because I try to base it on as much information as I can and I take a lot of time to try to analyse and counterbalance that information.

“It’s not individuals, it’s combinations sometimes, and some players are unlucky.”

The Ireland coach added that he has every sympathy for players, such as Cave, who narrowly miss out on selection.

“There were some people who’d contest some of the things that happened in the game, just like they’ll contest selection. And I totally understand player frustration because we were players once and you want to be selected — that’s why you work so hard.”

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