Schmidt keeping players guessing

first_imgJoe Schmidt has given his Ireland stars no indication who is in the running to face Wales in Cardiff next weekend. Schmidt could reasonably be expected to mix up selection at the start of the warm-up fixtures, to hand fringe players the chance to impress. Ulster second-row Henderson admitted however that Ireland’s players fully expect to be left guessing on selection until at least the early stages of next week. The Ireland squad will return to their Carton House camp on Sunday night after a week with their provinces, where Henderson and his Ulster colleagues turned out for a full-court press kit launch at Kingspan Stadium. “Joe wouldn’t be doing anything if he didn’t have a logical explanation for it,” said Henderson. “If you were to take the time and ask him why we were doing specific things then he would always have an answer for that. “He’s meticulous in his planning – everything we do is for a reason. “Again, that’s just another way of everyone staying sharp and on their toes. “It builds that competition again – there’s absolutely no chance of anyone thinking they can have an easy week expecting not to play next weekend or anything like that. “In a way it allows you to focus completely on what is happening day by day.” Schmidt has been at pains not to reduce his resources by whittling down his training group before he names his 31-man World Cup squad on the August 31 deadline. “Joe is so hard to predict when it comes to selecting squads,” Henderson told Press Association Sport. “He keeps us on our toes at all times, so it’s typical of him to be keeping us in the dark and that’s what’s happening now. “It’s making everyone work harder and harder all the time, and that in turn probably puts more pressure on him just to make those selections decisions. “We’re not even sure what the squad will be like for next weekend’s game yet: Joe has kept us in the dark on that, and no doubt that’s deliberate.” Ireland are better-placed than ever to reach their first World Cup semi-final in the England-based tournament that starts on September 18. Schmidt’s men will open their World Cup Pool D account by facing Canada at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, September 19, before clashes against Romania, Italy and France. Highly-regarded Kiwi boss Schmidt has just signed a contract extension until June 2017, and Ireland approach the World Cup as double RBS 6 Nations champions. Press Association Ulster lock Iain Henderson admitted head coach Schmidt is “keeping us in the dark” over selection for the first of four World Cup warm-up matches. Ireland take on Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, August 8, before facing Scotland, Wales again in a return match in Dublin and England. last_img read more

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Australia and New Zealand win Oceania U18s titles

first_imgAs regional champions, Australia’s boys will now compete at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games sevens competition in October if given the go-ahead by their National Olympic Committee (NOC). As per an International Olympic Committee ruling, only one male and one female team can attend the Youth Olympic Games from each nation.It was not all plain-sailing for Australia, the setback to Samoa having been preceded by a scrappy 29-25 win over the Cook Islands. But they rallied well, scoring 104 points with only five conceded in reply in their final three pool games against the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga.As well as beating Australia, unbeaten Samoa enjoyed emphatic victories over the Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands and also got the better of Fiji and Tonga in one-score games.Australia started the final in determined fashion and scored early through Jordan Williams. Less than a minute later Australian captain Jack Walsh crossed for the first of his three tries to make the score 10-0 before Samoa quickly responded with a converted try for Tuna Tuitama. Walsh crossed again, however, to take Australia’s lead into double figures at the break.  In a one-sided second half, Walsh completed his hat-trick and Williams scored a second with Tolu Koula also getting on the scoresheet.“Obviously we came off a loss against Samoa at the start but from there on we built further. We really bonded well throughout the week and the team came through for each other. It was good to get a win in the last game,” said Walsh.Fiji defeated Tonga 21-14 in the third place play-off and the Cook Islands finished the weekend strongly with a 41-5 win over the Solomon Islands in the fifth place play-off.”The rugby standard was unreal, you had no easy games. All the teams were really good and had the ability to win,” Walsh added.last_img read more

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