Ireland confirm three additional players have stayed on with World Cup squad
Joe Schmidt has praised the "unbelievable" professionalism of three Ireland players that have stayed on to train with his World Cup squad.
On Monday morning, six days ahead of schedule, the IRFU announced its 31-man squad to travel to Japan, later this month, and represent Ireland at the World Cup.
There were four big omissions from the squad, which will be confirmed next Sunday evening if all of Schmidt's squad for Saturday's Wales game get through unscathed.
- Devin Toner
- Will Addison
- Kieran Marmion
- Jordi Murphy
Schmidt, once again, opted to face the media at Carton House, this afternoon, to explain the rationale behind his selections. He also confirmed that Addison, Marmion and Murphy had remained on with the 31 other players to help them prepare for the Wales game.
That trio were on training duty at Carton House this morning and Schmidt hailed their professionalism and commitment. He also stated that they could be drafted into the squad should injury befall any in the provisional squad.
One of the reasons Toner did not make the final squad, according to Schmidt, was an ankle injury that impinged on his pre-season and game-time. Marmion was in a dead-heat with Luke McGrath for the final scrum-half spot but, said Schmidt, the Leinster man's 'kicking game probably narrowly tipped it in his balance'.
Schmidt provided some positive fitness updates on some of his senior players that are either carrying knocks or have yet to feature. Johnny Sexton will wear the No.10 jersey against Wales while he hopes to have Joey Carbery on the bench... if he trains on Thursday. For our money, expect Jack Carty in reserve on Saturday.
Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw are expect to make their season bows while Cian Healy is expected to feature in some capacity after he injured his ankle in the heavy away loss to England.
Schmidt also spoke out about criticism that has once again been directed at the Irish-qualified members of his squad. He noted how Bundee Aki and CJ Stander had done lots for their local communities before adding, "I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment because I'm a blow-in myself, I'll be blowing out soon myself."
To that point, Saturday will be Schmidt's final home game in charge of an Ireland team he took charge of in 2013.
WATCH THE LATEST HOUSE OF RUGBY SHOW HERE:
The latest episodes sees Barry Murphy, Andrew Trimble and Jerry Flannery discuss Ireland's World Cup squad selection and look ahead to their final warm-up game against Wales.