Wednesday 16 October 2019

Schmidt slams IRFU

Hugh Farrelly

LEINSTER coach Joe Schmidt has slammed the IRFU's new policy on overseas recruitment, describing last week's announcement as a "fait accompli".

Last week, the IRFU announced a list of refinements to its player contract policy to further the development of Irish players and control the use of imports. The moves, which are scheduled to be introduced for the start of the 2013/2014 season, are designed to strengthen the national side, but Schmidt spoke out strongly against the initiative last night, claiming the existing system is working very successfully.

"I was massively disappointed in the way they did it, I know from talking to the other coaches they feel the same way," said Schmidt.

"The timing of it and the way it was done, I was really disappointed. I think Irish rugby is going really well. If Ireland had beaten Wales would we be doing this? Wales have six-plus-two policy, so they have eight foreign players and people are lauding the young players that are coming through there (Wales).

"The PCRG (Professional Contract Review Group) already have veto on whoever we get in from outside already and, if there are imbalances there, they are imbalances that have been approved by them.

"I have got to say that I have never spoken out about the Player Management Programme or anything else, but I can definitely say I am disappointed by this.

"They have made it a little way down the track and there may well be some adjustment that can be made, but we certainly have it handed down as a fait accompli," added the New Zealander.

Schmidt's words were echoed by Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin, who believes there should have been greater consultation with the coaches.

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"The Irish senior team is why we are here, but we are not doing too bad at the minute and we just feel we should have been involved in the process," said McLaughlin.

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