Rugby

Joe Schmidt Addresses Devin Toner World Cup Squad Omission

Joe Schmidt Addresses Devin Toner World Cup Squad Omission

The omission of Devin Toner is one of the major talking points following the announcement of Ireland's squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Reports emerged on Monday morning that Toner was likely to be left out with Munster's Jean Kleyn getting the nod. That was confirmed when Joe Schmidt announced his squad six days earlier than expected on Monday afternoon.

Toner has been one of Ireland's most reliable players in recent years, especially as a lineout caller and jumper.

Kleyn only qualified to play for Ireland days before the warm-up game against Italy last month.

James Ryan, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne were the other second row options named.

"I've coached Dev for 10 years," Schmidt told Irish Rugby TV regarding the decision.

"He's not just a lineout champion for us, he's such a good player. He's an absolutely quality person. It was an incredibly tough conversation yesterday.

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"Jean Kleyn, we probably don't have a specialist tighthead second row as such. I said about the balance that we're looking for across the squad of 31 - Jean Kleyn fitted that.

"Tadhg Beirne gives you versatility of both a second row [and a back row]. He's teamed up well with Jean Kleyn in Munster this year. He also gives you that threat over the ball like a six or seven would.

"You've got James Ryan who made an immediate impression coming back into the side and Iain Henderson who's promised so much and performed at times incredibly well for us.

"It was a very tight decision around Dev."

See Also: Ireland Name 31-Man Rugby World Cup Squad Ahead Of Schedule

PJ Browne
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