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Schmidt phone call eased pain of missing out, says O'Loughlin

 

By Cian Tracey

Rory O'Loughlin's disappointment at not making the Ireland squad for the November internationals was offset by receiving a phone call from Joe Schmidt, explaining exactly why he wasn't selected.

Having made his debut against Japan on the summer tour, O'Loughlin had his sights set on adding to his one cap this month but an injury during the Champions Cup fixtures saw the likes of Chris Farrell and Stuart McCloskey creep ahead of him in the pecking order.

The versatile O'Loughlin will be eager to prove a point to Schmidt when Leinster host the Dragons at the RDS tomorrow.

"Yeah, (I was) definitely disappointed," the 23-year-old admitted.

"Joe actually rang me the night before the squad was announced just to let me know. He said it was a very close call and told me who he was going with, some of the reasons why, what I was doing well and what I need to work on.

"To get a call was kind of reassuring as he told me I wasn't far away and what needs to be done to hopefully get back in the picture for the Six Nations.

"To miss out on the two European games before the squad was selected, I kind of knew they would be a big factor in the tight calls, so that was the disappointing thing."

Schmidt demands that all his players perfect the smaller details and in O'Loughlin's case, there were some things that he wasn't even aware of.

"He's big into anticipating play especially as an outside back," he added.

"That's what I've tried to be better at as there's certain stuff I wouldn't have even noticed I wasn't doing both in attack and defence.

"He's given me feedback on some games when I've been too slow to do that and there's been disjointed forwards out in the wider channels, and then in defence just not switching off."

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