Monday 19 August 2019

Schmidt: I'd take a win of any kind against Fiji​

Head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: PA
Head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: PA

Ruaidhri O'Connor​

Joe Schmidt has warned fans to re-adjust their expectations for tomorrow's clash with Fiji.

In past November windows, Ireland have run in big wins in the middle game of their schedule against the likes of Georgia and Canada but the head coach believes the Islanders, ranked ninth in the world and packed with Top 14 talent, are a different kettle of fish.

Schmidt has made 13 changes from the team that beat South Africa last weekend - with Joey Carbery starting at out-half and Chris Farrell in for his debut.

Fiji coach John McKee has named a strong side, with Montpellier threats Nemani Nadolo and Timoci Nagusa on the wings, Racing's Leone Nakarawa at lock and La Rochelle's Levani Botia in the centre.

"Any result would be really good because Fiji are ranked a lot higher than Canada," Schmidt said. "They bring a different level of physical impact, athleticism and skill, particularly through the back end of the tackle with their ability to offload, keep the ball alive and really damage you.

"We're a bit more vulnerable this time. We've kept a couple of guys in whereas we made all the changes (against Canada).

"I'd love to see them (Ireland) get a result. We're looking at individuals at how they perform and how they fit in.

"We just don't have these opportunities apart from this. Next week is Argentina and then first up is France away (in the Six Nations) - no place to experiment."

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