Joe Schmidt said that he is not in a position to influence who might get called up to the Lions, but said being further away from New Zealand than the likes of Scottish and Welsh players is not helping the Irish cause, writes John Fallon in Japan.
Keith Earls produced another masterclass display as Ireland dished out a 50-22 hammering to Japan, but Schmidt said they had not received any calls about some of them being called into action for the Lions.
“It’s something I don’t have any control over. Selection for the Lions are their prerogative and they have made some decisions around proximity, geographical proximity.
“Some of our players are certainly enjoying the experience they are having here and they will stay focused but if they do get a late call up that would be fantastic for them as well.”
Schmidt has a number of injury concerns as they prepare for the second and final test against Japan next Saturday, but he doesn’t expect any players to be ruled out.
Simon Zebo (knee), Paddy Jackson (shoulder), Finlay Bealham (cut and shoulder), Luke McGrath (eye), Dan Leavy (head stitches), Rhys Ruddock (passed HIA) and Cian Healy (shoulder) all encountered some issues.
“I don’t think there is anything serious for us,” added Schmidt. “A couple of blood injuries but they seem fine. Luke McGrath got a poke in the eye, he’s fine now, just had blurred vision. We just felt it right to take him out of the contact zone. The rest of them are really bumps and bruises.
“Simon Zebo already had a bump on his knee and as luck would have it he got a knock on exactly the same place on the knee. The others were shoulders and ribs that were sore but nothing serious.”
Ireland will conclude their three-match summer tour with a second test against Japan next Saturday in Tokyo, having added to the 55-19 win over the USA with an impressive 50-22 win over the Brave Blossoms.