Joe Schmidt Calls For Minor Rugby World Cup Change That Could Make A Huge Difference
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Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has called for World Rugby to increase World Cup squads by just one player for future tournaments as he feels it would make all the difference.
Schmidt and captain Rory Best, as well as a number of other coaches, have called for increased squads in recent weeks to help cope with the physicality and strains of modern rugby.
34 seems to be the magic number for most, instead of the current 31-man squad, but Schmidt reckons even allowing 32 players would be a huge help as it allows teams to bring three tens, three nines and three hookers.
“You’d always love to have 34 but I think even just one more player would make a difference,” said Schmidt.
“I think 32 would make a difference because when you’ve got a five- or a four-day turnaround, you know that you’ve got three specialist positions – hooker, scrum-half and outhalf.
“If you take three hookers, which you are really bound to, you could also take three scrum-halves and three out-halves but it’s very difficult, so one of them is going to have to back up.”
Schmidt brought just two scrum-halves in 2015, and it looks likely that he will be forced to do the same in 2019. But he feels that can leave teams very vulnerable.
“You might start one and the other guy is on the bench but then you get an injury to one of those players and that’s going to keep him out for two weeks or say he gets a red card, you can’t replace him under the laws of World Rugby.” Schmidt added
“So suddenly your squad size is down to 30 and you’ve only got one scrum-half and he’s going to have to play the whole time.
“So to try to solve those conundrums, if you could have 32 players, you could have three scrum-halves and three out-halves and three hookers.
“You have to have five props because you can’t play a game of rugby without four qualified props. So as soon as you get a prop injury or prop suspension or even if a prop gets ill on the eve of a game, you’ve got to have someone else who can play that position.
“So when you add all those numbers up you’re starting to get skinny in the back row and second row and a little bit skinny in the back five, so I think 32 will help teams for sure.”