With the Irish visiting South Africa soon for a three-match Test series, Schmidt has been criticised for his selections - especially in his back three, where he opted to ignore Pro12 champs Connacht’s Niyi Adeolokun, Matt Healy and Tiernan O’Halloran.
Defending his decisions, Schmidt told the Irish Independent: “I don’t think the word ‘reputation’ is applicable. Performance is.
“A number of those guys [selected] have performed well at Test level.
“It’s one of the tough decisions to make, with the likes of Keith Earls there, Andrew Trimble had a great season...”
As fate would have it though, Leinster’s Luke Fitzgerald was ruled out of the tour after suffering a knee injury in the final against Connacht, with Healy being the favourite to take his position in the squad.
Of Healy, Schmidt says: “One of the advantages with Matt is that he’s a left-footed left winger and like-for-like with Luke. He’s certainly a guy who’s in contention.”