Friday 24 November 2017

'I wouldn't suggest he becomes a bookmaker': Schmidt dismisses Hansen's mind games and explains why O'Brien got the nod

Schmidt is staying focussed on the job in hand. Photo: Sportsfile
Schmidt is staying focussed on the job in hand. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has dismissed Steve Hansen's labelling of his side as favourites for this weekend's re-match.

"I don't think we will have any new tricks, we have kept the same rhythm since the World Cup bar a few amendments. The conditions may influence what we do or do not do but it will be a tough task.

"Steve has a few tricks especially pulling out a few six feet seven guys. You would love to think they are underdogs but I would not suggest he become a bookmaker. We are at 6-1 which may be better than 16-1 that it was in Chicago.

"Everyone is due a hiccup and we deserved to get in front and the guys rolled their sleeves up but they will not afford us any head start this weekend.

"It is not mind games, I know him very well. He has summed up a recent result. He does not believe we will pay too much heed to that because we know how good they are and part of that is their coaching staff who I know very well.

"We want to use Chicago as a reference point to get better. There was no arrogance from them, that is one ex-player shooting from the hip. They were tough to beat and will be even tougher this time.

"They have won two World Cups in a row and have put huge margins in teams, fifty points in South Africa.

"You will not get a tougher test and when you win 18 matches in a row, they wanted to finish the calendar year unbeaten and they want to start again. But we have learned lessons and we want to focus on ourselves.

"It is process driven, you try to be accurate no matter what time the game is at and you do not get too far ahead of yourself.

"We want to achieve a few things and if we achieve those, we will get the performance but against the All Blacks we know that may not be good enough to win.

"The set-piece is massive for us this weekend, my you saw Australia lose a lineout in the Championship and suddenly New Zealand score at the other end."

After naming his side to play New Zealand, Schmidt also revealed that Ultan Dillane was injured and admitted that he preferred to unleash Sean O'Brien from the start.

"A few guys did not train fully. Ultan Dillane has a sore knee but should be ready for next week, it is not serious. Keith Earls had a dead leg while Peter O'Mahony did not train fully all week.

"We thought it was better Sean started rather than come off the bench. We thought Josh and his engine would serve us well from the bench as it did in Chicago."

Out-half Jonathan Sexton confirms his side will attempt to replicate their attacking performance from Chicago and insisted that his side are now capable of stringing significant back-to-back performances together.

"Conditions will determine, if you sit back they will punish us but we will try to attack when we can with or without the ball," said Johnny Sexton.

"It is a monkey off our back but even though we got the win the review was pretty harsh and we know we need to be better because they will be better.

"We have shown we can put performances back to back, there is still an element we need to back it up but we did it last November against South Africa and Australia, as well as in the Six Nations championships.

"We need to show up and be emotionally and physically ready to go and hopefully the performance will come from that.

"We have greater depth because we have had injuries last spring and in the summer. We saw that against Canada and we will need it in the World Cup.

"When they came back at us, we stuck to our plan and then took our chances, that was it. When we sat back, we got into trouble but when we were on the front foot, we got into their territory, we took our chances."

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