Friday 20 September 2019

'It's going to be a tough day for the squad in general' - Andrew Conway nervous ahead of Joe Schmidt's squad cull

Andrew Conway could start for Ireland in Sunday's World Cup opener against Scotland in Yokohama (Adam Davy/PA)
Andrew Conway could start for Ireland in Sunday's World Cup opener against Scotland in Yokohama (Adam Davy/PA)

Nick Purewal

Andrew Conway has admitted Ireland's players face a nerve-wracking Sunday waiting to find out their World Cup fate.

The Munster wing impressed in Ireland's 22-17 victory over Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, scything through the home defence before sending Jacob Stockdale in at the corner for a fine try.

Conway, Will Addison and Jordan Larmour are all pushing to squeeze into a probable five-strong Ireland back-three group certainly comprising Stockdale, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney.

Boss Joe Schmidt will submit his 31-man World Cup squad to World Rugby on Monday, though Ireland will not announce that group until September 8.

Conway conceded no one in the Ireland squad quite knows what to do with their Sunday, when at some point head coach Schmidt could well be in touch with pivotal news.

"It's not going to be nice, I haven't experienced this one, for a World Cup," said Conway.

"I don't know what I'm going to do, just do something with my other half, keep the mind active and not be sitting looking at the phone.

"It's been a big block of work, and hopefully I've put in a few relatively good performances in the last three games. You never know.

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"I don't know how we'll find out. It's potentially calls, some lads get calls.

"Usually when we're in the squad you'd get an email saying you've been selected for a Six Nations or autumn squad, so I'm not sure if there's any differences now.

"Whatever is going on, it's going to be a tough day.

"From a selfish point of view I really hope I make it, but there's going to be guys that have done really well in this pre-season, worked incredibly hard and aren't going to make it. That's going to happen no matter what.

"So it's going to be a tough day for a lot of people, and for the squad in general. Because you don't like seeing guys who've put in such a massive effort lose out, but it is what it is."

Stockdale drew level with Ronan O'Gara as Ireland's 10th-highest Test try scorer of all time with his brace against Wales on Saturday, taking his international tally to 16 scores in just 21 appearances.

Ireland hit back from their record 57-15 loss to England at Twickenham by denying Warren Gatland a farewell Cardiff win in the last home match of his Wales tenure.

Schmidt's men will be at full strength to host Wales in the return fixture - and their final World Cup warm-up match - at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

By then Ireland's squad will know their World Cup selection fate, with their opening Pool A clash against Scotland fast approaching on September 22.

Schmidt typically examines training just as closely as matches when it comes to selection, and Conway admitted he hopes a summer's hard graft can help him pull through now.

Asked if he can feel proud he has shown the best of himself across this extended World Cup build-up, Conway said: "Yes I think so, and do you know, it's not really about the games whenever you talk about that, it's about the training, and the times I know that I've dug in and that I've put everything into it.

"All my preparation, physical, mental, emotional, even going spiritual, meditating, doing all these things to get the extra per cent.

"So I'm pretty comfortable in how much effort I've put in. And what will be will be."

PA Media

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