Ronan O’Gara Believes He Knows Why Joe Schmidt Picked A 40-Man Six Nations Squad
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This makes perfect sense.
If there’s one thing that Joe Schmidt seems to have that no other Irish coach has been afforded it’s strength in depth.
While Ireland has produced some fantastic players over the years, as soon as you started looking to the bench and beyond, things started to look a little bare.
Schmidt and IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora deserve all the credit here as it’s something they have been building towards since they came into their roles. It didn’t happen overnight, and it’s been a tough process, but we’re finally starting to see the fruits of their labour.
You only have to look at the current squad of 40 and the talent that exists within it. Then take a look at some of the players that are still left with the provinces, and for a nation with such a small pool of players, it’s an embarrassment of riches.
Schmidt’s squad is the biggest of any of the nations heading into the opening rounds and Ronan O’Gara has an idea why. The former Ireland playmaker reckons Schmidt will be running some A vs B games in training to make some of his final decisions when it comes to picking a matchday 23.
“Everyone will push but you can only pick two [per position]. Joe has it the way he wants it because he’s going to have some A versus B games in training.
“That’s going to bring out a great Irish team, which is what we all want.”
Possibles vs Probables has been a staple of Irish Rugby for as long as we can remember. Anyone that played senior cup schools rugby will remember this as players pushed for a spot in the weeks leading up to the big squad reveal.
Schmidt has some difficult decisions to make across his starting XV and his bench, with this being a perfect platform to sort the men from the boys. It also promises to be a hell of a game for those lucky to see it.