Joe Schmidt: Once this weekend is over selections are effectively done 3 months ago

Joe Schmidt: Once this weekend is over selections are effectively done

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has said that his selections are effectively over after this weekend's Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Wales.

Ireland played a largely experimental side against Italy in their first warm-up game before they were thrashed by England with a largely full strength side.

They will head to Cardiff for the first of two warm-up games against Wales, with the second game scheduled for Dublin the following weekend, but Schmidt indicated on Tuesday that his selection decision will be effectively made following this weekend's match.

"We are still in what we would determine as a building phase, a clarification phase for selection and once this weekend is over effectively selections are done," said Schmidt.

"Sunday will be a day of sitting down and making sure we can get the selection as well balanced as we can make it to get the right people to then springboard into that final game against Wales and then onto the World Cup."

Ireland picked up a number of injuries against England with Cian Healy injuring his ankle while Conor Murray went off with a HIA.

Reigning World Player of the Year Johnny Sexton has also been nursing a thumb injury but Schmidt provided updates on all three on Tuesday.

"Conor trained fully this morning and did all that was required of him. Our initial plan for Conor was to only play two games before we go.

"Last weekend and potentially the final game of the lead-in. We will make a decision on that. He passed his HIA 1 at the time, he passed his HIA 2 post match and the following day he passed his HIA 3 which means according to the protocols there was no concussion.

"He did cop an elbow to the side of the face as he came across and dropped into the tackle, just as Jonny May’s elbow came up. Those sort of things happen. He bounced up and was fine and trained fine today.

"Johnny got put back a bit with that thumb injury and then was trying to catch up a little bit; just got a little bit stiff and sore. He is very keen to be involved this weekend but we are not going to be silly about that. If we don’t think he is 100 per cent and ready then he won’t be involved this weekend.

"Cian, he is bullish. Cian was involved in the first game and the second game he probably wasn’t on the radar for this game anyway. We are probably just going to stick with that plan anyway. He is unlikely to play this Saturday and will play the Saturday after.

"I would be gobsmacked of he is not available for that because this weekend (and in terms of playing) is something that we could look at with Cian."