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ON Monday, Joe Schmidt will submit his list of 31 names to World Rugby for the World Cup.
Between now and then he will pore over the tape of this afternoon’s win over Wales, meet with his coaches and discuss his options.
Then, the phone calls and meetings will begin and he is dreading it.
The Ireland supremo is sticking with his plan to sit on the squad list for a week before confirming it on Sunday next after return fixture against the same opposition next weekend.
That’s a long time to sit on big news without it breaking into the public domain, it’s unlikely to stay a secret for long but the coach is determined to do it his way.
It’s not a part of the job he’s looking forward to.
“I think it’s a horrible couple of days, it’s probably the worst couple of days I’ve had in coaching, this time four years ago,” he said.
“I know how hard these players are working and how good they are, and how hard they’ve worked over a number of years because this is the pinnacle, this is what they’ve wanted to go after, this is what we’ve talked about last Christmas as being very much the sole focus of the year.
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“And for those players who miss out, it’s going to be a real body blow, and I’m incredibly conscious of that and I sympathise with it.
“But you can only take 31 and that’s brutality of it, I think.”
There is much to consider after a host of players put their hands up at the Principality Stadium.
Read more here:
- Ireland player ratings: Bundee Aki and Dave Kilcoyne the pick of the bunch in victory over Wales
- Jacob Stockdale bags brace as Ireland hold off second-half surge from Wales in World Cup warm-up
Ireland’s performance was far from perfect, but it was a massive improvement on last week’s eight try, record defeat to England at Twickenham.
Full-back Will Addison was one who impressed against Wales, but Schmidt again raised concern about the Ulster man’s lack of game-time.
“He did some things really well. He got a superficial
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