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'We've criticised Schmidt for not taking risks in the past and that's what he's doing'

Murray Kinsella joined Gavan Casey, Ryan Bailey and Sean Farrell in The42 Rugby Weekly studio following Ireland’s squad announcement.

Schmidt announced his World Cup squad on Monday.
Schmidt announced his World Cup squad on Monday.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

AS WITH ANY team announcement or squad selection, there are always winners and losers, no more so than when Joe Schmidt confirmed his chosen 31 for the forthcoming World Cup ahead of schedule this afternoon.

Originally due to name his squad next Sunday, following Ireland’s final warm-up game against Wales, Schmidt brought forward his announcement by six days after reports of Devin Toner’s shock omission surfaced.

Toner’s exclusion was the headline news, while Kieran Marmion will also feel incredibly hard done by after Luke McGrath was selected as the reserve scrum-half behind Conor Murray.

Leinster second row Toner has been one of Schmidt’s most trusted lieutenants in recent years having played 50 of the Kiwi’s 67 games in charges, but Jean Kleyn gets the nod alongside James Ryan, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne.

Speaking on an emergency edition of The42 Rugby Weekly, Murray Kinsella says is it a decision that could come back to haunt Schmidt and Ireland, but the head coach has been criticised in the past for not taking risks and that’s what he’s doing. 

 ”He’s seen these players up close and he’s backing Kleyn to make an impact,” Kinsella said.

Ryan and Henderson are clearly his first-choice second row and deservedly so. Ryan’s return was unbelievably immense against the Welsh and it looks like he has put on a few kgs and fully developed physically in that sense. Henderson will really have to nail that lineout calling.

“Schmidt will point to 91% lineout success in this year’s Six Nations, however I’d probably question the quality of some of that ball without Devin Toner.

“I guess we have to remember that we are very critical of Schmidt for being very rigid in his ways and always sticking to some kind of plan rather than looking at form. I know Jean Kleyn probably hasn’t shown that form but Schmidt is showing a bit of willingness to slightly deviate from his plans, even with Marmion at scrum-half and his sense that Luke McGrath is the guy coming up to top form.

Kinsella added: “The temptation now is to feel that Devin Toner has been really hard done by but there’s real quality across that squad. Tadhg Beirne is in there, everyone wanted to see that and we can’t overlook the fact he is there covering the second row but I imagine as an impact sub at six. He’s going to be a real potential game-changer for Ireland. 

“Andrew Conway, in the back three, is really deserving of his opportunity, as well as Jack Carty who has stepped up as that third-choice out-half.

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“There is loads of quality in there and, yes, it is really disappointing for Devin Toner and it could come back to haunt them. I think it is a risk but we’ve criticised Schmidt for not taking risks in the past and that’s what he’s doing here.” 

You can listen to the full podcast here:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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