Sport Rugby

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Schmidt appointment of Easterby given seal of approval by O'Driscoll

Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30

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Brian O'Driscoll says Joe Schmidt's decision to bring Simon Easterby into the Ireland coaching set-up is 'a very smart move'. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Brian O'Driscoll says Joe Schmidt's decision to bring Simon Easterby into the Ireland coaching set-up is 'a very smart move'. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Joe Schmidt's decision to appoint Simon Easterby as Ireland's forwards coach has received a ringing endorsement from Brian O'Driscoll.

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The now-retired former captain played alongside the ex-flanker 53 times in a green jersey for Ireland and believes he is the perfect fit to replace John Plumtree, who returned home to New Zealand at the end of last season.

The appointment of the Scarlets head coach has been seen as something of a left-field move from Schmidt, who had been expected to look to the southern hemisphere to fill the vacant position.

But O'Driscoll reckons staying closer to home will prove a canny decision by the Kiwi with the World Cup looming large at the end of the season.

"I think it's a great signing. I think it's a very smart move from Joe," O'Driscoll told the Irish Independent.

"Simon was always a very smart player. He knew shortcuts in the game, he was someone who had a huge engine and demanded a lot of those around him.

"I think he'll just bring his type of game into what he expects from his forward pack. He's a big man for detail, that fits well with Joe Schmidt, Paul O'Connell and a lot of the forward pack."

Ireland began life after O'Driscoll with an uninspiring series win over Argentina last month, but the former centre believes that the rest afforded to key players will be beneficial when the new season rolls around.

"I thought they played some good stuff in the first game and, by their own high standards, I'd say they'd probably have been a little bit disappointed in the second one," he said.

"It was a long, long season – particularly after the Lions tour – so a good break, a good pre-season should have them in good shape for what is another big year ahead of the World Cup."

Irish Independent

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