Wednesday 15 August 2018

'I wish people would do more homework' - Joe Schmidt hits out at critics of Ireland's style of play

Head coach Joe Schmidt during an Ireland rugby open training session at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Head coach Joe Schmidt during an Ireland rugby open training session at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

IRELAND coach Joe Schmidt has insisted his side are capable of offering much more than a route one approach as he unveiled his side to face Scotland ahead of the fourth leg of a potential Grand Slam.

The Irish side are widely admired for being utterly clinical as they bid for a record eleventh successive win but are nor always lauded for their entertainment value by neutrals.

"I'd wish people would do more homework," blasted the Kiwi.

"We had some really good stuff that went down the middle against Wales but we had some good stuff on the edges with some of the best passes you will see in world rugby.

"We need to keep that variety, we have made the third-most offloads and that's an area where people have beaten us with a stick. So we have more variety and we will need that balance this weekend."

Schmidt also said he is unconcerned by the fact that his supreme out-half Jonathan Sexton had a rare off day with the boot in the thrilling victory against Wales last time out.

"I'm super confident, he struck three of his four kicks quite well. I'd back him in any kicking situation. He wasn't a million miles away especially the one where he hit the post.

"There was a bit of breeze and maybe he over-allowed for it but the strike was spot on. The ball flight was very much what he was looking for so I don’t think he was a million miles away.

"Leigh Halfpenny kicked superbly but I’d watch him kick and I think miss three a few weeks before that.

"They were all in the fairly narrow V that you would normally say well that’s three points Or ‘that’s two points for Leigh Halfpenny’.

"That can happen on any given day but the real class kickers like Leigh Halfpenny and Johnny Sexton, that happens once in a blue moon and you don’t get blue moons all the time. You do get snow in March but you don’t get it often."

Schmidt is also optimistic that Garry Ringrose can make an immediate impression despite a severely limited build-up after suffering a second major injury this season.

"Garry has had only six games in this entire season but he has always done an incredible job for us and along with Keith Earls was a stand-out in Japan last summer. He is a smart player."

Sean O'Brien could also be in line to return for the final championship game in England once he proves his return to full fitness when he leads out Leinster tomorrow evening.

"I'll be watching Sean O'Brien and how he leads the side, that will be of interest to us on Friday night."

Schmidt sprung a minor surprise when naming his side by resisting the temptation to recall fit-again Lion Iain Henderson, instead retaining faith in the second-row pairing of Devin Toner and James Ryan.

"There wasn't much between the three of them, they have done really well in the championship so far. It was just trying to keep continuity with what we'd done against Wales and heading into this game.

"Iain Henderson was fully fit, he could have played against Wales which would have been a risk but that's not the case this time. We're just trying to keep a balance.

"And it could add to the last 30 minutes of our game bringing on an athlete like him. That also applies to the energy Jack McGrath and Andrew Porter can bring to us."

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