World Rugby bosses have hit back at the top coaches following claims that the 31-man World Cup squads threaten player welfare by insisting that the top coaches left their objections too late to have any effect for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Ireland boss Joe Schmidt was one of the critics suggesting that the 31-man World Cup limit is not enough players to attack a global tournament without compromising safety.
World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said that the organisation will review the World Cup squad limits for future tournaments but insisted the need to raise concerns far sooner for implementation.
"We are never entrenched in one particular position. That position has come pretty late in the day.
“We believe that there’s good player welfare parameters experienced around the size of the squads.
“Coaches generally want more players at their disposal and we understand that. Looking forward we might look at that.
"Moving forward we might look at that (increasing the squad sizes). It does have cost implications.”
All Black head coach Steve Hansen and long-time selector and All Blacks legend Grant Fox both voiced their opinion to Stuff.co.nz earlier this year that the current limit of 31 put too much strain on teams given the inevitability of injuries and needed to be raised by at least one player.
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Chief operating officer Alan Gilpin admitted World Rugby will consider raising squad limits for the 2023 tournament in France.
“We’ve looked at it, we’ve continued to look at it,” said Gilpin.
“Every World Cup throws up some areas for discussion and we’ll review that very thoroughly with the teams, team doctors and research after the tournament and move forward into the next cycle planning with the right information."