Ireland Boss Joe Schmidt Is Not Happy With World Rugby

Player welfare.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has criticised World Rugby for limiting Rugby World Cup squads to just 31 players.

The New Zealander says “tight” World Cup squad numbers do not fit well with six and five-day turnarounds between matches. Ireland open up their account in Japan against Scotland on September 22, before taking on the hosts just six days later.

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To make matters ever worse, their next game against Russia – takes place just five days after that. And with player welfare a hot topic in recent months, the Ireland boss reckons it’s time World Rugby extended the squad limit.

“With 31 players, I think it’s a very tight number that World Rugby limit you to,” said Schmidt.

“They talk about player welfare, but we have a six-day turnaround into a five-day turnaround, and 31 players, it’s very, very complicated.”

“And all the teams, I’m not saying that’s just tough for us. All the teams have tight turnarounds at stages.”

Ireland captain Rory Best had similar views when he was asked about the reduced squads earlier this year.

“We have a six-day turnaround between Scotland and Japan and then five between Japan to Russia,” Best said

“You get an injury that maybe takes you out for two games but not the entire tournament. If you get a couple of those you have to make fairly harsh decisions when it is actually not right as the player could be back for Samoa [Ireland’s fourth pool game].

“I’d be more inclined to increase the squad size to 35 players. The problem with 31 is by the time you name three hookers and three nines there are positions you are really short on.

“There is a back row/second row type player who will have to cover both but at a World Cup you shouldn’t have to have makeshift people in there. It should be: this is our best squad. 35 players would give you that luxury.”

What do you think? Is it time Rugby World Cup squads were expanded?