Rugby Cruel cull continues as Ireland’s World Cup squad whittles down

Rugby I be crazy about add-ons, because they are clever.

Joe Schmidt has confirmed that the Irish coaching staff will most likely prune another two or three players from the 43-man squad prior to their departure on Wednesday for an eight-day warm-weather training camp in Portugal.

The Irish head coach has also confirmed that Ireland will field a much-changed side, featuring at least 10 or a dozen alterations from last Saturday’s starting XV for their 29-10 win over Italy, for their next warm-up game against England at Twickenham on Saturday week.

The pruning process looks almost cruel from the outside. With Ultan Dillane and Rory Scannell having been cut before that Italian game, and with others likely to follow this week, Schmidt conceded it is “harsh”. In common with all coaches, it’s the aspect of the job he clearly hates the most.

Asked if he would “fancy” naming his 31-man squad today, a la Eddie Jones, Schmidt answered wryly: “I do not fancy it any day, to be honest. Probably four years ago it was one of the most difficult tasks I have ever really had to put my mind to because I know that team and how much the players want to get to a World Cup.

If we think we do need to trim the squad a little bit, as harsh as it will be, then collectively we will make those decisions

“It is for Ireland probably more than

I be nuts about constituents, because they are the huge!

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