Joe Schmidt has heaped the pressure on referee Angus Gardner ahead of Ireland’s World Cup clash with hosts Japan on Saturday.

Head coach Schmidt claimed the last time Gardner refereed Ireland proved “incredibly frustrating”, intimating his side were unduly punished during March’s 25-7 Six Nations loss to Wales in Cardiff that sealed the hosts’ Grand Slam.

“Obviously last time we had Angus (Gardner) it wasn’t great for us,” said Schmidt.

“We didn’t play particularly well but we didn’t feel we got a lot of the rub of the green either.

Schmidt has played down claims from Japan that Ireland scrummage illegally Schmidt has played down claims from Japan that Ireland scrummage illegally Schmidt has played down claims from Japan that Ireland scrummage illegally

“I think if you look back at the scrum, we actually went straight through the middle of the Welsh scrum to get a turnover ball very early in the game.

“And then when they ran around the corner we got no receipt (of penalties) from that and they were given penalty rewards, which was incredibly frustrating.”

Ireland’s opponents on Saturday Japan have spent the week claiming Cian Healy angles in illegally at the scrum, with prop Yusuke Kizu calling out their opponents and head coach Jamie Joseph backing his comments.

Ireland started their World Cup with a 27-3 win over Scotland Ireland started their World Cup with a 27-3 win over Scotland Ireland started their World Cup with a 27-3 win over Scotland

World Rugby this week issued a stinging statement hitting out at the standard of World Cup refereeing, with the officials having failed to issue the correct punishments for a string of big incidents.

In the wake of that statement, however, Schmidt now expects all the officials to raise their game.