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Schmidt slams IRFU’s overseas players policy

Guinness PRO12 Editor

28 Dec 2011

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has hit out at the IRFU’s new regulations on foreign players, admitting he’s ‘massively disappointed’ and claiming the status quo is working just fine.

Last week, the IRFU revealed a number of changes to contract policies designed to improve the development of Irish players by controlling the use of overseas imports.

It’s hoped the moves, which will be introduced for the start of the 2013/2014 RaboDirect PRO12 season, will benefit the national side, but Schmidt believes it’s a knee-jerk reaction to Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final loss to Wales.

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

"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.

"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.”