Sunday 18 February 2018

'There is kind of a sinister element': Joe Schmidt's ruthless analytical streak was on display after intercept error

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An Irish team featuring 15 changes saw off Canada 52-21 at the Aviva Stadium last night with Joe Schmidt now turning his attention to a mouthwatering rematch with the All Blacks next weekend.

Some of Ireland's squad players such as Tiernan O'Halloran and Garry Ringrose impressed on the night but there were a lot of mistakes that would have rankled Schmidt as he plots another mammoth upset of New Zealand.

In an interesting post-match interview, Schmidt praised his players for some aspects of the performance but notably singled out an intercept try given away by Luke Marshall to Canadian dangerman DTH van der Merwe.

The Kiwi didn't seem to pleased that a warning issued during the week hadn't been heeded by one of his players.

"I thought we built the first 14 points really well," he said.

"Unfortunately they got back into the game. DTH van der Merwe intercept, it's not something that we hadn't discussed during the week. We knew that was a risk. They got back with that and then a driving maul try."

Speaking on RTE's analysis after the match, Shane Horgan gave an interesting insight into the mindset of his former coach, theorising that Schmidt will heavily focus on the soft try in the review session next week.

Horgan shed some light on the Ireland's coach meticulous and ruthless nature when it comes to preparing his team.

"He always does remarkable analysis and he is really honest about it, especially when he wins," Horgan said.

"He's such a charming guy in those interviews but there is kind of a sinister element when he says 'we need to speak about the mistake that we had spoken about already'. We had talked about a potential interception so I imagine [Luke Marshall] is quaking in his boots because that is what he [Schmidt] doesn't like.

"He is very exacting guy and if you don't address something that was addressed during the week, that is very frustrating for him. You can make a mistake that you've never made before but don't make one that you have made before and don't make one that I've already brought up."

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