Ahead of Ireland’s summer tour of Japan and the USA, there are a number of notable absentees from the Irish Camp.
Whilst 11 are touring with the Lions in New Zealand, there is one omission that surprised all.
After the season of a life time, Donnacha Ryan was looked at as a potential Lion.
However, he did not receive the call from Warren Gatland not did he get a call from Joe Schmidt.
This may be something to do with the fact that Ryan will be leaving Munster in the summer to join Fremch club Racing 92.
Much was made of Ryan’s move, citing the IRFU as the main reason that the departure was allowed to happen.
Yet, Joe Schmidt insists that money was not the reason that Ryan left.
“Donnacha has been at a World Cup, he’s done most things in the game, he’s won Six Nations Championships, you know, he thoroughly enjoyed November and the experience that he had there,” Schmidt said.
“So he felt that there was an opportunity to experience something a little bit different before he finished his career and broaden his experience a little bit, in case he wanted to extend his rugby career in a coaching role or mentoring role.”
“So I understand that, and he also understands our stance.”
The Irish boss feels that Ryan made the move to experience a new set up after spending his whole career with Munster.
“He was definitely offered a contract,” Schmidt said, “I don’t think it was far off his old one. I don’t know the numbers to be honest, but I think people definitely worked hard to keep him. I know the phone calls I made and also the discussions I had.
“Also, I have huge respect for him. As I said he’s done most things in the game, and he has, I think, a valid reason for doing what he’s doing and he made a choice.”
“I have a huge amount of respect for him and you make your best pitch. But when he explains to you his reasoning… I don’t know if you’ve spent too much time talking to him, but he’s a very clever man and he knows his own mind.
Whilst a move abroad often signals the end of an Irish internationals career unless your name is Johnny Sexton, Schmidt remains adamant that “the door is never closed”.