Joe Schmidt Explains Why He Left Peter O’Mahony & Sean O’Brien Out Of Chicago Trip

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Joe Schmidt today named his Ireland team to take on Canada, with two very notable names returning to the fold.

Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony both make their long awaited returns to the Irish set-up this weekend with the latter leading the side as captain. O’Mahony hasn’t played since being stretchered off against France at last year’s Rugby World Cup, while O’Brien also last played against France in this year’s RBS Six Nations.

Both player’s have come out since the match and expressed their frustration at being left out of the side to face the All Blacks as Ireland created history, defeating New Zealand for the first time, following 111 years of trying.

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They both however did admit that perhaps it was the right decision and that they accepted Schmidt’s judgement. No doubt though, they will be devastated to have missed out on such an occasion and will come out fighting this weekend in a bid to regain their spots in the starting line-up for the return All Blacks tie.

Schmidt spoke to the press today, following his team announcement and had this to say about leaving the two out and the prospect of both players being out to prove a point against Canada.

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“Potentially [they will be] but I don’t want them too frustrated. I want them focused and ready to do what they can do for the group. I’ve had a lot to do with them for the last three years

“As tempted as we were last week, our greatest fear was somebody getting injured early in the match and one of those guys having to come off the bench for 70 minutes. As it transpired [with Jordi Murphy’s injury], it was 56 minutes. When you are competing with the All Blacks, that is still 56 very fast minutes.”

“In the end,” he said, “we were really confident that Josh [van der Flier] could do a job and, as you saw, he did.”

Ireland have the likes of CJ Stander, Jamie Heaslip and Josh van der Flier missing from their squad this weekend.

The battle for the three spots in the back row is sure to be interesting.

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