Friday 24 January 2020

Nacewa fears IRFU rules could force him to leave Leinster

David Kelly

David Kelly

Leinster's Isa Nacewa has admitted that he could be forced to leave the Heineken Cup champions should the IRFU go ahead with plans to restrict the number of overseas players plying their trade in Ireland.

"It's a bit up in the air at the moment," he said. "They've let their guard down a bit but, at the end of the day, they're rules and if they decide to apply them, it will change the structure of some of the teams out there.

"It's definitely not something I want to do (leave). I've a young family who were born here and have grown up in Dublin. I hope the rules get let down a little, but if I'm forced to leave, it's something I'll have to deal with."

Ahead of Leinster's Heineken Cup semi-final in Bordeaux against Clermont on Sunday, Nacewa has also revealed how he and his team-mates have often been "scared" by coach Joe Schmidt.

"It actually blew me off guard initially," he said. "When he arrived here, he caught everyone off guard. And everyone was pretty much scared of him come Monday morning.

"In our Monday morning reviews, there's no hiding place. You can't be lazy, you can't be hiding on the pitch because he'll put it up there for everyone to see."


Schmidt revealed that his former Clermont head coach, Vern Cotter, rang him last week ahead of the most eagerly anticipated club game of the season.

"I think he is as nervous as I am about it," said Schmidt. "I think we can go there and play pretty well and still not get the result, and I think he feels the same way.

"That is the way it should be with a European semi-final. I think it is going to very, very tough and so does he.

"They have avoided the barrage. They are clearly going to play direct into the semi-finals in France, so they are already in a comfortable spot, a little like we are.

"I think, with the depth of their side, Vern is pretty comfortable with the options that he has at his disposal. It will be really interesting when the team comes out.

"I don't think either of us believes 15 players on either side will win it. It is certainly about the 23 players that are selected."

Elsewhere, Ulster duo Chris Henry (leg) and Pedrie Wannenburg (groin) have been given the all-clear for their semi-final against Edinburgh, but Paddy Wallace (concussion) remains an injury doubt.

Sale chairman Steve Diamond has revealed that former Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath joined Tana Umaga, Rob Penney and Anthony Foley in being interviewed for the head coach vacancy at Munster last week.

Irish Independent

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