Tuesday 12 November 2019

Joe Schmidt: The Irish players were screaming at dinner during the England match

Declan Whooley

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has admitted he was shocked when France attempted to run the ball from their own line against England with time up with the Six Nations dangling in the balance.

Trailing 55-35 at Twickenham, Stuart Lancaster's side went in search of the 13th try of a spell-binding match that would have handed the Red Rose the championship. With 20 points separating the sides, a converted try would be enough to snatch the title from Ireland, but at the French line they were pinged for going off their feet and the visitors were awarded a penalty.

However, rather than kick the ball into touch with the 80 minutes up, winger Yoann Huget decided to tap-and-go with the Irish squad watching on nervously in Edinburgh.

Read more: Joe Schmidt: 'I'll park rugby for a while to care for my sick son'

Twenty seconds later they finally dispatched the ball into touch as Ireland made it back-to-back titles, but Schmidt admitted it was a nerve-jangling finish.

"I couldn't believe when they tapped the penalty and time was up," he told Sunday with Miriam on RTE Radio this morning. "I thought 'Oh no, they'll give England another chance', but thankfully that didn't happen."

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell with the six nations trophy at Murrayfield Stadium. Photo: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell with the six nations trophy at Murrayfield Stadium. Photo: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire
Paul O'Connell (left), and Sean O'Brian with the six nations trophy. Photo: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire
Sean O'Brien of Ireland kisses the Six Nations trophy. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Paul O' Connell offers the trophy to the rest of the team. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Rob Kearney after winning the 2015 RBS Six Nations. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell with the Six Nations Trophy (left), as Jamie Heaslip sprays his team with champagne. Photo: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire
Ireland celebrates winning the 2015 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Paul O'Connell lifts the six nations trophy. Reuters / Russell Cheyne
Paul O'Connell lifts the six nations trophy as they celebrate. Reuters / Russell Cheyne
Paul O'Connell celebrates with the Six Nations trophy. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Simon Zebo and Conor Murray of Ireland celebrate victory. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Jamie Heaslip celebrates with the trophy. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Paul O' Connell lifts the trophy as his team mates celebrate. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Jamie Heaslip and Devin Toner celebrate with the trophy. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Paul O' Connell celebrates after the RBS Six Nations win. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Paul O' Connell (third right) and team mates celebrate after the RBS Six Nations match. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland players Jamie Heaslip (left) Rob Kearney (centre) and Sean O' Brien celebrate. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell carries his son Paddy from the pitch at the end of the game.
Jonathan Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne celebrate. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Connor Murray and Peter O'Mahony acknowledge the applause from the crowd at the end of the 2015 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Photo: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire
Jonathon Sexton scores a penalty. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Ireland's Peter O'Mahony acknowledges the applause from the crowd at the end of the 2015 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Photo: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire
Ireland's Jared Payne scoring a try during the 2015 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Ireland's Jared Payne celebrates a try during the 2015 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Ireland's Paul O'Connell with the Centenary Quaich after the 2015 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Paul O'Connell with the Centenary Quaich after the match. Reuters / Russell Cheyne
Scotlands Jim Hamilton and Irelands Jamie Heaslip compete in a line out. Reuters / Russell Cheyne
Jonathan Sexton in action with Scotlands Finn Russell. Reuters / Russell Cheyne
Jared Payne is congratulated by team-mate Jonathan Sexton after scoring his side's third try.
Jared Payne touches down to score his side's third try of the game.
21 March 2015; Sean O'Brien, Ireland, scores his side's second try against Scotland. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
21 March 2015; Luke Fitzgerald, Ireland, is tackled by Stuart Hogg, Scotland. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
21 March 2015; Jonathan Sexton, Ireland, is tackled by Jim Hamilton, Scotland. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
21 March 2015; Stuart Hogg, Scotland, is tackled by Paul O'Connell and Cian Healy, Ireland. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Ireland supporters, from left, Richard, Daniel, Jack and Philip Boland, from The Curragh, Co. Kildare, ahead of the game.
21 March 2015; Jonathan Sexton, Ireland, is tackled by Finn Russell, left, and Matt Scott, Scotland. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
21 March 2015; Ireland supporter Betty Corcoran, originally from Bray, Co. Wicklow, but living in Airdrie, Scotland, cheers the Ireland team's arrival into ground ahead of the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
21 March 2015; Ireland supporters John, Nicola and Charlie Collins, from Ballsbridge, Dublin, cheer the Ireland team on their arrival ahead of the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
21 March 2015; Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald arrives into the ground ahead of the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Sean O'Brien scores their second try of the game during the 2015 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 21, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Scotland. Photo credit should read: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire
21 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell goes over to score his side's first try, his seventh career try, in the fifth minute of the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
21 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell goes over to score his side's first try, his seventh career try, in the fifth minute of the game. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Scotland v Ireland. BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Paul O'Connell of Ireland scores the first try during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield

Read more: Paul O'Connell: The title win was even better craic than last year

"(The match was on) during the team dinner, the team was scattered among five or six tables. There were screams at the dinner. We tried to keep an eye on it and not get too involved, but it was pretty inevitable we would be watching it at the end."

The coach also praised the Irish fans at the game for creating a unique atmosphere.

"It felt like a home game yesterday," he added. "We left the hotel and there was a huge swarm of support outside hotel. The amount of Irish supporters (at Murrayfield) as bus drove in gave the players a lift.

"The other thing that was bizarre - was post match how often the cheers went up in the stands from people watching the screens, Scottish cheering were the French on too."

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