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Joe Schmidt criticises World

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'They talk about player welfare' - Joe Schmidt makes a point of criticising World Rugby

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Joe Schmidt has criticised World Rugby for limiting World Cup squads to 31 players.

Ireland head coach Schmidt has admitted he believes “tight” World Cup squad numbers do not fit well with six and five-day turnarounds between matches.

Ireland will launch their World Cup bid by taking on Scotland on September 22, before facing Japan six days later – and Russia just five days after that.

And Schmidt believes high injury rates should lead to World Rugby extending squad limits.

“With 31 players, I think it’s a very tight number that World Rugby limit you to,” said Schmidt.

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“They talk about player welfare, but we have a six-day turnaround into a five-day turnaround, and 31 players, it’s very, very complicated.

“And all the teams, I’m not saying that’s just tough for us. All the teams have tight turnarounds at stages.”

Ireland could trim their current training squad of 43 before heading out for a warm-weather camp in Portugal on Wednesday.

Schmidt’s men will remain in Portugal until jetting straight to London to take on England at Twickenham on Saturday, August 24.

“I think we’ll probably travel (to Portugal) with about 40, but it could be 43, just depending on training numbers,” said Schmidt.

“As you branch off with a smaller squad, just keeping those guys up to speed with what we’re trying to develop, it becomes a little bit of a difficulty for us, especially if we pick up an injury.

We’re playing England, Wales and Wales (again), physically big teams, physically bigger than we are, therefore there tends to be a risk of attrition.

“So I don’t want those other players to get too far away from us, because we want them up to speed if they do miss out on that 31 in the end.”

– PA

Conor O’Shea speaks to the media following his sides loss to Ireland in their Rugby World Cup warm up game at the Aviva Stadium.

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'They talk about player welfare' - Joe Schmidt makes a point of criticising World Rugby