The Ulsterman had only recently made it into the Pro14 Dream Team, but failed to earn a place amongst Leinster’s Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, Munster’s Chris Farrell and Rory Scannell and Connacht’s Bundee Aki.
Other notable names that have missed out are Ulster’s Will Addison and Connacht’s Quin Roux, but McCloskey’s exclusion seems to be causing the most uproar on social media.
The 6ft 4 centre has only three caps to his name, all under Schmidt, with his last appearance coming in the Autumn against the USA. The New Zealander has clearly not taken to the 26-year-old, preferring Aki and Henshaw ahead of him. The powerful centre plays a similar game to Aki, with Schmidt clearly feeling there is no role in the team for the Ulsterman.
This has been suspected by Ireland fans for a long time, but the fact that McCloskey has just finished a superb season with Ulster may have been persuasion enough to be included into the fairly sizeable squad. However, he still has not done enough, and many fans have been left baffled. This is what they have said:
No Stuart McCloskey ???
— Gav (@GavStew99) May 28, 2019
No McCloskey, fresh off inclusion in the pro14 dream team and had a great season. Madness when you look at some who have been included.
— Adam James (@atjames88) May 28, 2019
— Rory Henry (@rory_henry_) May 28, 2019
Mental that Stu McCloskey can be left out after another standout season for Ulster. ???
— Mark Best (@Besty06) May 28, 2019
Can’t believe no Stuart McCloskey !
— Gary Killen (@KillenGary) May 28, 2019
Rory Scannell picked ahead of Tom Farrell and Stu McCloskey. ? https://t.co/ULPQDUGbu2
— Mark Gordon (@thegord001) May 28, 2019
No Stuart McCloskey is odd..been in tremendous form for Ulster.
— Dylan Carleton (@dylancarleton84) May 28, 2019
Stuart McCloskey good enough for the PRO 14 team of the year not good enough for a 44 man Ireland training squad.
— Chris McCann (@canntoya) May 28, 2019
No Stuart mccloskey on the ireland wc training squad yet there is space for Dave Kearney is an absolute joke
— Connor Hart (@connorhart99) May 28, 2019
— darkside lightside (@ds_ls) May 28, 2019
I could understand, but perhaps not agree, with him not making a squad of 31 but to not include him in a squad of 44 is laughable. His performances for Ulster this season have been brilliant and him, along with Coetzee, have been at the heart of Ulster’s improvement this year.
— Richard Tanswell (@richardt84) May 28, 2019
While McCloskey has been bitterly unlucky here, this is an indication of the strength in depth when it comes to Ireland’s centres. Aki, Henshaw and Ringrose in particular are three players that all deserve a starting berth in green, but one will inevitably miss out.
The reality is, as it is in all sport, some players simply do not fit a coach’s style of play or vision, and unfortunately for McCloskey, he looks like one player that cannot impress Schmidt. He will be looking forward to next season, where he will hope to curry favour with the incoming Andy Farrell.
A bad day appeared to get worse for the McCloskey, who tweeted about a lost wallet shortly after the squad announcement.
If people could retweet that would also be great ??
— stuart mccloskey (@Stuart_Mc12) May 28, 2019
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