Joe Schmidt On Whether Or Not Sean O’Brien Is In His Rugby World Cup Plans

Selection call.

Joe Schmidt has admitted no one has a guaranteed spot in the Ireland squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

Ireland recently named a 37-man squad to prepare for this weekend’s Six Nations clash with France, but come World Cup time – the Ireland boss will have to trim his squad down to just 31.

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The back-row is arguably Ireland’s most competitive position and realistically some top players are going to miss out. Could one of those be Sean O’Brien? The Leinster flanker is set to move to London Irish next season, effectively ruling him out of future international selection.

So should O’Brien be worried he failed to make the squad this weekend?

“I think everyone worries about their place in any squad at any time,” Schmidt said when asked if O’Brien should be concerned about selection for the World Cup.

“The problem for Sean is that he hasn’t really had too much rugby and he wasn’t happy with his performance against Italy.

“He came on against England and I thought he made a really positive impression, and I thought he did well against Scotland as well.

“So it’s not like he’s not in our thinking. None of the players we’ve utilised so far are not in our thinking, but unfortunately later in the year, you have got to trim that group to a very small group of 31 [for the World Cup].

“But at the same time, any of those 31 can pick up an injury in the last couple of games and we need to have, we believe, 40 to 50 players who are going to be on the same page and at least partially prepared to step in and fill in.”