Brian O’Driscoll On Ireland’s Rugby World Cup Squad – “It Kind Of Beggars Belief”
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Former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll has had his say on Joe Schmidt’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad for Japan – and the decision to leave Devin Toner at home.
O’Driscoll says it kind of “beggars belief” that Ireland’s “best lineout operator” is being left at home, especially considering the fact that their set-piece has struggled in recent games.
Speaking as a Land Rover ambassador, O’Driscoll says Toner should be “wondering whether it was justified” but says Schmidt clearly “sees something different” in Munster’s Jean Kleyn.
“I think there was always going to be a big omission, such is the strength in depth,” O’Driscoll said.
“I guess no-one saw Devin Toner being left out. And it kind of beggars belief that if the lineout is malfunctioning you then don’t include your tallest player and your best lineout operator.
“He’s the most capped player under Joe Schmidt, the go-to guy for big games.
“And only 10 months ago he was dominating the lineout in that big victory against the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium. So it’s quite the fall from grace.
“And obviously Joe Schmidt sees something in Jean Kleyn, a different player from Devin Toner, a big scrummager and maybe a meatier ball carrier.
“But if I was Devin Toner I’d be feeling very sorry for myself, and wondering whether it was justified.”