Friday 17 November 2017

George Hook: Ireland were brave but Joe Schmidt got his tactics wrong against Wales

George Hook has compared Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to Eddie O'Sullivan and insists he got his tactics wrong against Wales today.

Ireland played out a bruising 16-16 draw against Wales in their Six Nations opener at the Aviva Stadium and while Hook insists that, overall, it was a positive day out for Ireland, Schmidt could have done more from a tactical point of view.

Conor Murray scored Ireland's only try as they roared into a 13-point lead but Hook highlights what happened after that as a slight concern going forward.

Hook was joined by Tom McGurk and Mick Quinn for Independent.ie's live coverage of today's match.

“What I am worried about is between the 28th minute and the 80th minute we scored three points – a penalty. What we have difficulty doing is scoring ties,” said Hook.

“How do we beat a team if we don’t score tries? Was it brave? Yes. Was it organised? Yes. Was it match-winning rugby? No. Therefore we are going to struggle.”

While Quinn argued that it was a good, brave performance by a well-organised Joe Schmidt team, Hook suggested that winning a third consecutive Championship will take a lot more than that.

“Bravery is good but it has to be matched by something else. Schmidt got his tactics wrong. When a wing or a centre gets the ball, every player cuts inside, creates a ruck and we win the ball again. 

“The rest of the world is playing differently. Are we the only ones right and the rest of the world wrong? I think we are wrong and the rest of the world is right.

"To be fair, Schmidt did better than we thought. I am perfectly happy to admit that," added Hook.

"This is positive. It would be absolutely wrong for me to say it wasn’t but I am not blind either. I am not prepared to get up and sing Ireland’s Call on the basis of what I have seen.

"Joe Schmidt is as predictable as Eddie O’Sullivan. He has a lot in common with Eddie O’Sullivan. He is a very conservative selector and he is a control freak."

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