Thursday 8 December 2016

Time to lock Schmidt into new contract

Johnny O'Connor

Published 25/03/2016 | 02:30

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Joe Schmidt has done a fantastic job with Ireland, and even though they haven't won the Six Nations in 2016, there are still a lot of positives to be taken from the tournament, writes Johnny O'Connor.

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To hear people questioning Schmidt's capabilities as a coach is a bit perplexing. Ireland won two Six Nations in a row and with the players that left and injury, that would have been much more difficult this year.

So hopefully Schmidt can be tempted to stay on again after his contract runs out. Although that is a long way away, it's not good to hear him answering questions about it in press conferences and it would be such a loss to Irish rugby.

Looking back on the tournament, Ireland weren't that far away either. It could have been so different had they got the victory against Wales on the opening day. They let one slip in France, and had Josh van der Flier's try been given in England they would have been in a good place there too.

But in terms of the talent that was unearthed, it has been really encouraging. Ultan Dillane has been class, and guys like Van der Flier, and Stuart McCloskey are the future.

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