Schmidt speaking at today's press conference in Carton House. Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong are also in the front row. Tadhg Beirne doesn't even make the bench with Devin Toner the second-row reserve for James Ryan and Iain Henderson.
Van der Flier can consider himself unfortunate, too.
Centre Garry Ringrose is out with injury as Robbie Henshaw comes back in.
"We are used to playing with each other so that's good for us".
"We didn't really have much of a conversation, I learned about it really when he named the squad", he said.
"Are we now comfortable with where we're at?" We're never comfortable. And you've nearly got to be resigned to the fact that you're never going to be totally comfortable, because there's a couple of positions where we'd like to have more depth. "I want to get back to being one of the best players", he continued.
Sexton returns to the Ireland team this weekend.
"They understand fully that any who look that far ahead (to the All Blacks match) they compromise what they deliver this weekend", he said.
It is a big step-up for the 21-year-old but he has relished every challenge in his burgeoning career to date, seizing every opportunity with key and impressive involvements since his debut against Italy in last year's Six Nations.
"I think that what Joe has done for Irish rugby, not just for the national team but Leinster, is evident".
Schmidt coached Ledesma during the pair's time at Clermont, and the Ireland boss isn't surprised the former hooker has transitioned into coaching.
"He was already coaching, he was already contributing", said Schmidt.
Schmidt's contract runs till next year's World Cup but he is due to announce his future plans after the November Tests - he has been mentioned as a prospective future head coach of New Zealand.
"They have very good players, all of them".
"I think he had a lot of the attributes".
"I don't want them looking around".
"He has already done an incredible job in broadening his experience for example with the Wallabies (when he was forwards' coach)".
"At worldwide level he was involved with the Wallabies, he's been involved with the Jaguares, with a pretty decent upsurge in their performances". So that's who you want in charge of the national team.
"I think confidence is a lot and in the Rugby Championship we had up and downs maybe so we'll try to play the game we played against South Africa which was probably our best 80 minutes".