Irish rugby coach Joe Schmidt has strongly refuted claims that he is influencing selection policy in the Provinces. It follows Jared Payne’s recent move from full back to centre for Ulster. The New Zealand born 29 year old is now eligible to play for Ireland through the residency rule and has been included in the National squad for the upcoming Guinness Series Internationals against South Africa, Georgia and Australia.
Schmidt admits that Payne will battle it out with Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw to replace the retired Brian O’Driscoll in the number 13 shirt, but denies that he has asked Ulster to accommodate his plans.
He has also rubbishing suggestions he has "blocked" Ulster centre Darren Cave's path back to the Ireland squad.
Speaking at the launch of the new Guinness advertising campaign ‘Munster: Self Belief’, the Irish coach says he has no say in who plays in the centre or who carries water for the Provinces.