Joe Schmidt is a renowned rugby tactician but Ulster star Darren Cave has revealed that his in-depth analysis extends far beyond looking at the world's top teams.
Cave has won 11 caps for Ireland, with a number of them coming against some world rugby's smaller nations, and has a distinct memory of Schmidt making sure his players didn't get complacent even when playing teams that they were expected to beat comfortaby.
Speaking on The Left Wing podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, Cave told Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery about how Schmidt prepared his team to face Romania at the 2015 World Cup.
"I think it is because I have been coached by Joe, but I have this incredible expectation every time I watch Ireland," Cave says.
"I was astounded that we didn't smash Fiji. Luke, you have played in those teams when you have played lesser teams under Joe. Those were my forte games! He brainwashes you into believing that that team and those players are the best in the world. You are watching footage of the Romanian national conference filmed on somebody's iPhone. You are convinced - 'that guy is good! Does he play for Saracens in Romania or the real Saracens?!'
"I played against the Georgians and the Americas and I was sitting there thinking - these boys are unbelievable! He was putting the fear of God in me."
Ireland get their 2018 Six Nations campaign underway against France in Paris this Saturday, and are favourites to start the championship with a win. They then face Italy, Wales and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium before finishing away to England in Twickenham on St Patrick's Day.
Ireland have won two Six Nations titles under Joe Schmidt, in 2014 and 2015.
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