Joe Schmidt On Why Tadhg Beirne & Sean O’Brien Didn’t Make Squad For France Game
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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt today named his Ireland team for this weekend’s Six Nations clash with France at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
As expected the New Zealander has made a number of changes, with no fewer than seven changes from the starting team that defeated Italy in Rome almost a fortnight ago.
Garry Ringrose comes in to partner Bundee Aki in midfield, while in the pack – James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Rory Best, Cian Healy, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander all come in.
But there’s no room in the squad for Tadhg Beirne or Sean O’Brien with Ultan Dillane providing second-row cover and Jack Conan the loose forward on the bench. So why were they left out?
Well according to Schmidt – Beirne is a bit “sore” and has been given the weekend off, while O’Brien’s axing seems tactical in terms of VDF coming in to start, with Jack Conan on the bench because he was initially due to start against Italy before he got injured.
“Jack Conan was initially supposed to start against Scotland so we wanted to give him an opportunity.” Schmidt said.
“As tempted as we were with Tadhg Beirne he’s been a little bit sore this week still coming back from injury. He was in the mix but he’s gonna get the weekend off. And he’ll come back in fresh to train next week.”
“Josh van der Flier has had less time than Sean [O’Brien] really. Josh hasn’t let us down at all. It’s the perfect opportunity to get him back in there.”