Saturday 18 November 2017

Cardiff disappointment will be parked and it's business as usual

Joe Schmidt feels that Ireland need something different in attack against Scotland and Simon Zebo is the one to miss out
Joe Schmidt feels that Ireland need something different in attack against Scotland and Simon Zebo is the one to miss out


Joe Schmidt feels that Ireland need something different in attack against Scotland and Simon Zebo is the one to miss out.

I don't think that Zebo has done whole lot wrong . In the Welsh performance, a lot of things didn't go Ireland's way but he wasn't a player who stood out as not being up to it. He didn't get much ball, didn't get much opportunity and the kicks didn't go his way. It happens.

Joe is obviously looking for something different in Luke Fitzgerald. Maybe he will come in off the wing a bit more and offer a bit more footwork.

Mention Simon Zebo and you think of attacking rugby. People are looking for a bit more running rugby and a bit of flair, but when your team is winning that's all you want.

Whatever it takes to win you do it and Joe Schmidt had it spot on for the first three games of this Six Nations. If that means 'turgid' rugby, then that's what is needed to get wins on the board.

It was always in Schmidt and Ireland's sights to open their game up a bit more once they got that winning momentum behind them but you need that momentum first in order to get the confidence up to implement a more attacking style of play.

That momentum was ripped to pieces against Wales and now it's time to reassess the game-plan and Schmidt has done that with Fitzgerald and Cian Healy coming into the starting 15.

While the Welsh defeat was a crushing blow, to suggest that it would dampen any Championship victory this Saturday is nonsense. Six Nations titles are extremely hard to win and you can be damn sure that the players are fully focused on the job in hand.

The disappointment from last weekend is well and truly behind them and it's business as usual. It was business as usual once they left the dressing-room in Cardiff last Saturday afternoon.

As players you don't look too far beyond your next game so I am not so sure the Irish lads were thinking about a Grand Slam before the Wales game. When you don't win, after putting so much into it, it is bitterly disappointing, especially after seeing our Grand Slam hopes go up in smoke.

Next step is what do we have to do next? You learn more from the games you lose than the games you win. Scotland won't be easy and the last time we went there we lost the game.

They have been playing some really good rugby. I know results have not been going their way but the performances have been there. Stuart Hogg has been outstanding for them, but if we get into our stride and get a bit of momentum I think we will pull away but it will be tough.

I have no doubt Ireland will get the job done and then it is an agonising waiting game. It's tough having to wait to see what happens. You have to prepare, go out and play your own game before sitting around and waiting for the next one. That is really tough.

England and France know what they have to do going into their games and we can't worry about that. We can only go out and win the game first and foremost and then concentrate on getting the points.

I think Ireland will win by quite a few points and while England should see off France at Twickenham, it really depends on what French team turns up. It's typical France. Even within a game they can go from the sublime to the ridiculous. If it's a wet day they may not want to play. It's a French thing.

They won't be happy with their performances so far. They are going to England and they will want to spoil their party.

The Six Nations Championship is very much there for Ireland.

Irish Independent

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