Schmidt puts his stamp on squad in new era
The Irish rugby team will play its first international match of the season today under the stewardship of new manager Joe Schmidt amid heightened expectations that this is 'the year' for the national team. In doing so he has put his own stamp on the team selection while staying loyal to the 'old guard' with the appointment of the inspiring Paul O'Connell as Irish captain, even though he will not play in the opening match against Samoa at the Aviva Stadium.
Schmidt has the name of being a meticulous planner and it shows in the team selection where he has come up with a blend of the old and the new featuring those who are match fit at this stage of the season.
Irish fans will also be hoping that meticulous attention to detail will show on the pitch against Samoa and in the forthcoming winter internationals against Australia and New Zealand.