Schmidt launches passionate defence of overseas-born players after controversial Kleyn selection

Schmidt launches passionate defence of overseas-born players after controversial Kleyn selection

Joe Schmidt has launched a long and impassioned counter to Augustin Pichot's claim that Devin Toner should feel hard-done by the decision to omit him from the World Cup squad in favour of Jean Kleyn.

Kleyn only qualified for Ireland in the week of the first warm-up game against Italy, late last month. Still capped just twice, Munster's South African-born and raised lock has been chosen ahead of Toner who played 60 times for Schmidt alone in the course of a glittering Irish career.

Pichot's take on the decision, aired via Twitter on Monday, followed on from his assertion last week that the world rankings were “ridiculous” given Warren Gatland's Wales had usurped New Zealand as No.1 despite having failed to beat the All Blacks in over 50 years.

Ireland, incidentally, could actually have leap-frogged the Welsh last week had they won by a greater margin.

“Gus Pichot had a big opinion about who should be world number one as well,” said Schmidt on Tuesday afternoon. “I think he has a number of big opinions, but they're not ones that are relevant for us and, talking to Gats last week, they weren't relevant to him either.

“What is relevant is that under the laws of the game, as they were, we are entitled to pick guys who have qualified. Considering he is involved in World Rugby, he could have a look at what the rules were and not have so many things to say because for us it is tough enough to do our job and tough enough for me to have a conversation as I did with Dev.”

Schmidt was only warming to the debate at that stage...

“With Ireland the qualification involvement is, I don't know, probably six or seven per cent. The rest are home grown guys who are not only home grown but who are domiciled here, apart from two years when Johnny (Sexton) was used from Paris. If there was any question about the number of Irish people involved then I would be surprised when you match up those numbers.

I'm not sure I'm the most qualified to comment as I am a blow-in myself and I'll be blowing out soon enough so Gus Pichot has changed the rules and those rules will apply beyond this World Cup and they will apply as long as people feel that is the right residency rule.

Hi guys,

pelase see below the full piece on Joe Schmidt which has just gone online. Thanks.

Brendan O'Brien

Joe Schmidt has launched a long and impassioned counter to Augustin Pichot's claim that Devin Toner should feel hard-done by the decision to omit him from the World Cup squad in favour of Jean Kleyn.

Kleyn only qualified for Ireland in the week of the first warm-up game against Italy, late last month. Still capped just twice, Munster's South African-born and raised lock has been chosen ahead of Toner who played 60 times for Schmidt alone in the course of a glittering Irish career.

Pichot's take on the decision, aired via Twitter on Monday, followed on from his assertion last week that the world rankings were “ridiculous” given Warren Gatland's Wales had usurped New Zealand as No.1 despite having failed to beat the All Blacks in over 50 years.

Ireland, incidentally, could actually have leap-frogged the Welsh last week had they won by a greater margin.

“Gus Pichot had a big opinion about who should be world number one as well,” said Schmidt on Tuesday afternoon. “I think he has a number of big opinions, but they're not ones that are relevant for us and, talking to Gats last week, they weren't relevant to him either.

“What is relevant is that under the laws of the game, as they were, we are entitled to pick guys who have qualified. Considering he is involved in World Rugby, he could have a look at what the rules were and not have so many things to say because for us it is tough enough to do our job and tough enough for me to have a conversation as I did with Dev.”


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