Saturday 17 March 2018

'He's not a screamer or a shouter' - Mike McCarthy and Luke Fitzgerald on Joe Schmidt's infamous video reviews

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Newsdesk Newsdesk

Leinster and Ireland legend Luke Fitzgerald misses the scrutiny that video reviews provide.

Speaking on this week's episode of's rugby podcast, Fitzgerald reveals how he misses the feedback he received during these reviews and how it helped the development of his game.

He also feels that this kind of constructive criticism could be used more outside of a sporting sphere.

"The reviews can be tough and it is a no-holds-barred environment in terms of giving feedback," he said.

"There is no HR department.

"In Leinster, especially, I had (Michael) Cheika, Joe Schmidt, Matt O'Connor as well a guy who took a lot of criticism but he could be extremely cutting as well

"You have to get used to it, because the environment was so drilled and focused towards being the best you can be. There is an environment there where you have to be open to getting feedback but also getting feedback.

"It's makes it a harsh and cutting environment, it's not that I miss it, I never found it that tough because I was usually talking or giving a bit of guff to people.

"In workplace's, people can be a little too sensitive to getting feedback. I feel like it's a crucial element to getting better but that's something I would miss."

Read more: 'It was a surreal experience with one of my coaches' - Mike McCarthy shares a classic Shaun Edwards story

Video reviews handled by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt have become the stuff of legend but can be pretty nerve-wracking, as Mike McCarthy can attest.

"Some of them were shocking and Sean Cronin found this hilarious, we went into Carton House once. We went in on a Sunday night and you go in and hang around in the big conference room and there's the big screen there and Joe had the first clip up and he couldn't wait to tell me, 'Macca, Macca, you're the first clip'. It was a freeze-frame of me.

"I had cleared the ruck wrong and Nugget was dying to tell me. I was chicken winging, it was an outlawed clearance of the ruck.

"We were half an hour waiting for the review and I was the first clip.

"The thing with Joe is that he's not a screamer and a shouter, he just makes you feel like you're really letting the team down and he has a very good way of doing that and bringing out the best in the players."

Fitzgerald liked the fact that the Kiwi could relate clips back to central messages he was trying to deliver.

"I loved the way he could relate back a mistake you had made in the game to a few key principles he had picked out," he added.

"He's able to say are you being as ruthless as possible in this scenario.

"It meant that you were alway thinking about these key things."


Subscribe to The Left Wing,'s Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

Listen and subscribe to The Left Wing on iTunes and Soundcloud.

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