Stuart McCloskey dropped, Zebo at fullback and once again no Paddy Jackson.
It’s the stuff of nightmares for many Irish fans who truly believed Schmidt was finally going to try something new against Italy and once again start the impressive Stuart McCloskey and let Jared Payne slot in at fullback where he has impressed so many time for Munster. Paddy Jackson despite being one of Ulster’s standout players this season- doesn’t even make the bench once again.
Schmidt spoke to the media today to explain why he has gone with his selection.
On Payne at fullback:
“We haven’t trained with Jared at 15 so it would be a big step for us to go with that… What we lack with Jared in midfield has been evident to us, especially on the edge, defensively.”
“We want to keep investing in Stuart but [selecting him] would create a concertina effect as it would mean shifting someone over elsewhere.”
Schmidt noted that his status as a ‘one-position player’ had hindered his chances of making the Irish bench.