Tuesday 17 January 2017

George Hook: Ireland were brave but Joe Schmidt got his tactics wrong against Wales

Published 07/02/2016 | 19:20

George Hook has compared Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to Eddie O'Sullivan and insists he got his tactics wrong against Wales today.

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Ireland played out a bruising 16-16 draw against Wales in their Six Nations opener at the Aviva Stadium and while Hook insists that, overall, it was a positive day out for Ireland, Schmidt could have done more from a tactical point of view.

Conor Murray scored Ireland's only try as they roared into a 13-point lead but Hook highlights what happened after that as a slight concern going forward.

Hook was joined by Tom McGurk and Mick Quinn for Independent.ie's live coverage of today's match.

“What I am worried about is between the 28th minute and the 80th minute we scored three points – a penalty. What we have difficulty doing is scoring ties,” said Hook.

“How do we beat a team if we don’t score tries? Was it brave? Yes. Was it organised? Yes. Was it match-winning rugby? No. Therefore we are going to struggle.”

While Quinn argued that it was a good, brave performance by a well-organised Joe Schmidt team, Hook suggested that winning a third consecutive Championship will take a lot more than that.

“Bravery is good but it has to be matched by something else. Schmidt got his tactics wrong. When a wing or a centre gets the ball, every player cuts inside, creates a ruck and we win the ball again. 

“The rest of the world is playing differently. Are we the only ones right and the rest of the world wrong? I think we are wrong and the rest of the world is right.

"To be fair, Schmidt did better than we thought. I am perfectly happy to admit that," added Hook.

"This is positive. It would be absolutely wrong for me to say it wasn’t but I am not blind either. I am not prepared to get up and sing Ireland’s Call on the basis of what I have seen.

"Joe Schmidt is as predictable as Eddie O’Sullivan. He has a lot in common with Eddie O’Sullivan. He is a very conservative selector and he is a control freak."

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