Joe Schmidt On Donnacha Ryan’s Future With Ireland
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Munster lock Donnacha Ryan is expected to join French club Racing 92 this summer.
Ryan was not offered a central contract by the IRFU, with Munster unable to match the deal on the table by the French giants.
The towering lock has been playing the best rugby of his career in recent months, and there’s even talk he may be selected for the British & Irish Lions when Warren Gatland names his squad on Wednesday.
His impending move means he will no longer be eligible to play for Ireland, with Joe Schmidt and his panel of selectors making it clear in the past that players outside of Ireland will not be selected as the likes of Ian Madigan and Marty Moore have discovered.
There have however been exceptions in the past- such as Johnny Sexton when he was at Racing and many fans have been hoping Ryan might get the same- especially considering the circumstances on his departure.
Speaking to RTE Sport, Schmidt didn’t rule out the prospect of a Ryan call-up in the future.
It’s a good question and it is disappointing if Donnacha goes because I think he’s really grown into himself in the last short while. He had a long-term injury that kept him out of the game for a long time and that was incredibly frustrating for him and for the IRFU who were looking to get him involved for as much as they could.
For Donnacha, he’ll make some personal decisions. Sometimes people forget the human factor in decision-making. There are relationships involved, there are life experiences involved. As much as we try to keep everyone inside playing in Ireland, cause we want to do that to support the provinces. If we don’t manage the players well and we start picking players from outside of Ireland then other players are likely to go because they will see that they can still get selected by the national team.
We never say never because there are some really good Irish players playing outside of Ireland but at the same time we want to keep investing in the people who are investing in our provincial game because in the end we need to keep our provincial game strong for our national team to be successful as well.