Tuesday 16 January 2018

Hook on Schmidt: 'To suggest this man is the best coach we've ever had is mind-boggling'

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

In six seasons in Ireland he has won two Heineken Cups, the European Challenge Cup, the Pro12, two Six Nations and has beaten two of the three southern hemisphere heavyweights but George Hook still doesn't think that Joe Schmidt is Ireland's best ever coach.

Hook has been a vocal critic of Schmidt's tactics as Ireland boss, frequently lamenting the side's inability to score tries at the same rate as the teams in the Rugby Championship.

Speaking to the Independent.ie before Ireland's 35-25 win over Scotland yesterday, host Richie McCormack put it to the former RTE pundit that Schmidt was the best coach Ireland have ever had and that the IRFU should beg him to extend his contract past the summer of 2017, when his current deal ends.

However, Hook doesn't feel that Ireland should be over beholden to the New Zealander despite his success.

"I don't think he's as good as he's made out," Hook said.

"He hasn't gone from a miracle worker to a bad coach. This is incredible. How you could suggest that this man is the best coach we've ever had is mind-boggling."

Hook then offered the names of Ronnie Dawson, Syd Miller and Roly Meates as coaches who could rival Schmidt as Ireland's best ever. Hook also talked about the prospect of the Ireland coach taking charge of the Lions on the tour to New Zealand next summer.

Although Warren Gatland is favoured after winning the 2013 test series in Australia, for a large part of the last two years it looked like Schmidt could be a likely alternative. However, the nature of Schmidt's contract coupled with the fact that Ireland's form has dipped has led Hook to believe that the former Leinster coach has no chance of leading the Lions.

"He has no chance of being head coach," Hook said.

"He won't be head coach of the Lions because the IRFU are going to hold him to his contract and won't let him take a year off to do it."

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