Tuesday 16 January 2018

Reddan eager for 'top-class' Schmidt to stay on as Leinster boss

David Kelly

David Kelly

If Leinster clinch a third Heineken Cup title in four years on Saturday, the clamour from their supporters to tie down their head coach to an extended contract will surely increase.

Although slated to remain until the summer of 2013, there have already been calls from influential pundits, and some of his own players, for Joe Schmidt to begin working with the struggling national team.

And, further afield, clubs like Auckland Blues have begun sniffing around the highest-regarded coach in world rugby, as he stands on the precipice of guiding his side into a position of unprecedented European supremacy.

Scrum-half Eoin Reddan may not be in pole position to be named in Schmidt's starting line-up for the final when it is announced tomorrow at lunchtime, but the former Wasps star is unashamed in his enthusiasm for the Kiwi leader's methods.

"We have a big squad and the likes of myself play some weeks and don't play some weeks in big games," he explains.

"We have a squad that smiles and gets on with it. Joe does too. Everyone is in it for each other and that allows Joe get on with what he wants to do. Tactically he is very good and comes up with plays that get us tries, so it is a very good combination at the moment.

Building

"We had good coaches here before that too. Joe came in at a time when we had a lot of building blocks in place and he brought something different in terms of our attack and it has worked really well. He is a top-class coach."

Part of Schmidt's success has been predicated upon a familiar sentiment beholden to all winning teams -- that is focusing on the task in hand. It may be a cliche to concentrate on a game at a time but it is a winning maxim.

"There is only one Heineken Cup up for grabs next week," declares Reddan. "People can talk about whatever number they want but there is just one up for grabs.

"It is such a massive occasion in itself, isolated, for a player to run out on a day like that -- to say you are underdogs or favourites has never come into it in my experience.

"You have got one job. It could be to catch the kick-off, then it is to pass the ball or kick the ball. That's what you focus on. You spend one second thinking about something else in that kind of environment and it is going to be gone.

"The Heineken Cup is so big that it brings a bigger kind of pressure than all this favourites or underdogs tag. I have gone in as massive underdogs and won and gone in as massive favourites and won."

Winning is all that matters.

Irish Independent

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