Joe Schmidt ‘excited’ about Robbie Henshaw’s return
Rugby World Cup: Ireland coach says he’s picked players who can give ‘best preparation’
Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw in training ahead of the Rugby World Cup match against Samoa. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Ruddock, man of the match against Russia seven days ago, was expected to feature at blindside but Joe Schmidt this morning named Tadhg Beirne at number six with Peter O’Mahony covering on the bench.
Kearney was “managed” in training this week so Jordan Larmour starts at fullback.
“Rob ran today,” said Schmidt, “but he was a little slow to pick up during the week, as was Pete O’Mahony, as was Rhys so we’ve gone with the guys who can give us the best preparation into the game.”
Munster lock Jean Kleyn – who qualified to play for Ireland on residency grounds last August – is makes the reserves list alongside Joey Carbery and Andrew Conway.
With Garry Ringrose rested, having played all 240 minutes of Ireland’s Pool A matches to date, Robbie Henshaw returns at outside centre alongside Bundee Aki.
Henshaw has recovered from a hamstring injury.
“Robbie is fresh and we are excited to have him in there. It is a little bit about balancing the load albeit in a huge game for us.”
Johnny Sexton starts at outhalf with Schmidt stating the 34-year-old will play up to 60 minutes before being replaced by Carbery.
Schmidt was not best pleased with a question about eradicating the mistakes that led to “sub-par” Ireland performances against Japan and Russia.
“There have been elements in both those - as you describe - sub-par performances when we have done some really positive stuff.”
The outgoing 54-year-old Kiwi coach called upon the senior forwards to ensure “we are not getting ruffled, we are not over chasing, we are being as solid as we can be to give ourselves the platform to get whatever we need from the game.”
There followed questions about dented Irish confidence. There followed answers about the positive aspects of Irish play at this World Cup. Everyone in Camp Schmidt was on message today.