The Real Reason Will Addison Was Left Out Of Ireland’s 31-Man Rugby World Cup Squad

Niggle.

Ulster utility back Will Addison was one of several surprise omissions in Ireland’s 31-man World Cup squad when it was formally announced yesterday afternoon.

Head coach Joe Schmidt had praised the former Sale Sharks man in the build-up to the Wales game, noting his versatility and the fact that he could potentially act as extra cover at 10 while in Japan.

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Addison started at fullback in that game on Saturday and hugely impressed, looking safe under the high ball and demonstrating his ability to counter-attack on a number of occasions.

So why didn’t he make it? Was it purely a selection decision? Not quite. Addison has only just returned from injury and it turns out he picked up a further niggle on Saturday.

“I thought Will Addison was really good on Saturday,” Schmidt said.

“Unfortunately for Will it’s all just come a little too late. He picked up a little bit of a calf niggle after having come back and not having played the back end of last season, and he hadn’t had that much time with us. But he fits in so well and played so well.”

There you have it. He simply wasn’t worth the risk it seems. Schmidt needs players that are going to be fit come Japan and Addison was no guarantee. But there’s no doubt he’s one of the first names on the standby list.