Ulster’s Darren Cave is set to make his World Cup debut on Sunday against Romania as Ireland opt to give Robbie Henshaw more time to fully recover from a hamstring strain.
Crowley, like Schmidt a New Zealander and the sole coach among the 20 present to have won a World Cup – with the All Blacks in 1987, added: “He’s not one of the most well paid rugby players in the world for nothing, is he?!”
Following the bonus point win over Canada in their opening game, Ireland rested a host of big-name players including captain Paul O’Connell, Connor Murray and Johnny Sexton but were still able to name the oldest team in World Cup history as they looked to make it two wins from two.
“We feel like we have to go out and win the game first”, he says.
“Cian is always an asset, whether that’s off the bench or starting”, Schmidt told reporters.
Romania had already put in over 40 tackles by the time the game reached the five minute mark, indicating the tough match ahead.
He said: “We’ve got a great view of the place and you know when we are in our team room we have a nice balcony and I am sure we are going to be able to see kind of the scenes, kind of build up to the day in terms of the fans”.
The teams last met 10 years ago at Lansdowne Road, with Ireland emerging 43-12 victors.
Ireland (to play Romania) – S Zebo; T Bowe, J Payne, D Cave, K Earls; I Madigan, R Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss, N White; D Ryan, D Toner; J Murphy, C Henry, J Heaslip (capt).
Ireland have never been beyond the quarter-finals but have begun their campaign with drubbings of Canada and Romania.
Tries from Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls helped Ireland lead 18-3 at half-time, with Simon Zebo excelling.
Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Nathan White are the front three with Devin Toner and Donncha Ryan in the second row.
Earls bagged his second try when a lineout maul was going nowhere and scrumhalf Eoin Reddan went the blindside, put a nice grubber kick along the ground, and Earls scooped it up and scored.
“As in any match we would be managing players in and out of training, so some guys who may have trained yesterday may have sat out today”, explained Ireland team manager Mick Kearney.
“We know next week is the pivotal week”.
I’m picking on Dumbrava now, but there was also this sliced clearance while under medium pressure which visibly wounded Romania to the point where you can see his team-mates giving him an earful.
Thankfully, Ireland’s first brush with the game’s second tier left no major scars on the squad and the signs were mostly encouraging. Asked if Ireland would learn from that game, Schmidt said: “I hope it’s mutual really, to be honest”.