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Joe Schmidt Is Going To Extraordinary Lengths To Ensure He Picks The Right World Cup Squad

Joe Schmidt Is Going To Extraordinary Lengths To Ensure He Picks The Right World Cup Squad
By Conor O'Leary Updated
Schmidt RWC Squad Plea

It's been occupying many people's minds for the last few months, but now that the regular season is over for some; players are switching into international mode and the prospect of the World Cup is looming. For Joe Schmidt and the rest of us, it means plenty of attention of attempting to select a World Cup squad.

It started in earnest with Schmidt's Emerging Ireland selection, before the friendly with the Barbarians last night. Schmidt is expected to select an extended panel of up to 47 players as he figures out what 31 lucky individuals will earn the chance to represent Ireland on rugby's grandest stage.

As can be expected, Schmidt isn't leaving any stone un-turned, even asking journalists for their advice on how his squad should be made up. In jest obviously:

You know, I’m sure you guys [journalists] are throwing those same questions around, if you can help me out!

Schmidt's dilemmas have started already, with early selection meetings to decide the extended squad with his staff ended in disagreements. For now though, Schmidt has a number of takeaways from the Baa baas game, and will be keeping a close eye on some individuals on tour with the Emerging Ireland:

We got together for a couple of hours and couldn’t make our minds up.

We decided was let’s have a look tonight, and let’s get across to the Emerging Ireland tour and have a look at another couple of guys over there. That’s partly why Stuart McCloskey and Noel Reid didn’t play tonight, and Rhys Ruddock didn’t play tonight.

Indeed, Stuart McCloskey being singled out is interesting. Joe has admitted that he has slotted into the training environment seemlessly. McCloskey offers Ireland a different threat that no other option gives and it will be interesting to see if Schmidt likes that or decides that McCloskey is too inexperienced in the short time until the World Cup.

For now, Schmidt will be looking to narrow down his squad, while the decision on how to split the final 31 man squad is giving him problems leading him to ask for help.


I haven’t done this before, I know I’m going to get a few things wrong, because it is inevitable when you first go into something.

It is very strange to hear that from Schmidt given his record in Ireland has brought him two Heineken Cups, two Six Nations titles, an Amlin Challenge Cup and a Pro 12 title. Schmidt's noted attention to detail surely means that mistakes are minimized, but it's refreshing to see that his success hasn't lead him to take further success for granted. He'll be better set up for a tilt at the title in 2019.

Is it a 17/14 split? If it is a 17/14 split, can you take three out-halves and three scrum-halves? That leaves you quite light elsewhere. We have players who are quite versatile in that back five, will that suffice?

If we thought Schmidt would help us in our guesses for the World Cup squad, that doesn't look like it will happen. But Schmidt did leave us with a parting request:

I’m sure you’ll throw a few teams into the media over the next two weeks. I’ll try and get a look at them, get some guidance because it is tough.

You heard the man, send us in your 31 man squads on facebook or any other method you can thing of and we'll feature some of the best.

See Also: It Seems Dylan Hartley Has Had One Indiscretion Too Many For England
See Also: GIF: We Need To Talk About Ian Madigan's Sensational Bit Of Skill Last Night
See Also: Five Emerging Ireland Stars Who Could Force Their Way Into The World Cup Squad

H/T The42

Photo Credit Diarmuid Greene

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