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Schmidt hits back at chief in Kleyn row

Standing firm: Joe Schmidt
Standing firm: Joe Schmidt

By Nick Purewal

Joe Schmidt has offered a withering dismissal of Agustin Pichot's criticism of Ireland selecting Jean Kleyn ahead of Devin Toner for the World Cup.

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World Rugby vice-chairman Pichot claimed Toner should be asking the game's governing body - and his own organisation - "for answers" after his omission from Ireland's 31-man panel.

South Africa-born Kleyn only qualified for Ireland on residency two days before his Test debut in the 29-10 victory over Italy in Dublin on August 10.

Pichot hit out at Ireland selecting a naturalised player over a home-grown talent.

Referencing Pichot questioning Wales' recent rise to World No.1, Schmidt said: "Gus Pichot had a big opinion about who should be World No.1 as well.

"He has a number of big opinions, but they're not ones that are relevant for us and, talking to Gats (Warren Gatland), they weren't relevant to him either.

"What is relevant is that under the laws of the game, as they were, we are entitled to pick guys who have qualified.

"Considering he is involved in World Rugby, he could have a look at what the rules were and not have so many things to say.

"Gus Pichot has changed the rules and those rules will apply beyond this World Cup and they will apply as long as people feel that is the right residency rule," added Schmidt.

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