Joe Schmidt On Dropping Peter O’Mahony & Rob Kearney For The Samoa Game

A little bit slow.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has explained his decision to leave Rob Kearney and Peter O’Mahony out of his starting line-up for this weekend’s final World Cup pool clash with Samoa.

O’Mahony is on the bench with Tadhg Beirne starting at blindside, while Jordan Larmour starts at fullback with Kearney failing to even make the squad.

Rhys Ruddock also failed to make the squad despite starring in the win over Russia last week. Schmidt says Kearney was “a little bit slow to pick up” during training this week, as were O’Mahony and Ruddock.

“Rob is a bit… he ran today but was a little bit slow to pick up during the week,” Schmidt explained.

“As was Pete O’Mahony, as was Rhys Ruddock.”

While both were a “little slow” O’Mahony’s selection over Ruddock is probably because he can cover openside and blindside, while Kearney has started the last two games and isn’t exactly getting any younger.

“So we’ve gone with the guys that could give us the best preparation into the game and a bit of a mix,” Schmidt continued.

“Obviously you’ve got guys like Garry Ringrose, who has been outstanding so far. He has played three sets of 80 minutes in just 11 days.

“You can’t expect people to just keep on, keeping on when that is the case. So, Robbie [Henshaw] is fresh and we’re excited to see him in there. So it is a little bit about balancing the load for us, albeit in a huge game.”

Ireland team vs Japan.

15. Jordan Larmour
14. Keith Earls
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Bundee Aki
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Conor Murray
1. Cian Healy
2. Rory Best (c)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Iain Henderson
5. James Ryan
6. Tadhg Beirne
7. Josh van der Flier
8. CJ Stander

Replacements:
16. Niall Scannell
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Jean Kleyn
20. Peter O’Mahony
21. Luke McGrath
22. Joey Carbery
23. Andrew Conway