Monday 20 November 2017

Watch: 'One of the best coaches in the world' - Luke Fitzgerald defends Joe Schmidt ahead of England clash

15 August 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt speaking with Luke Fitzgerald ahead of the game. Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match. Ireland v Scotland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
15 August 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt speaking with Luke Fitzgerald ahead of the game. Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match. Ireland v Scotland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Luke Fitzgerald has defended Joe Schmidt after the Kiwi came in for criticism following Ireland's second defeat of their 2017 Six Nations campaign.

Ireland's hopes of a third championship in four years was ended last Friday night in Cardiff following a 22-9 defeat to Wales, with the head coach coming under scrutiny after many of the problems evident in previous games plagued the team again.

Speaking on this week's episode of The Left Wing, Fitzgerald acknowledged that Schmidt is culpable for Ireland's misfiring attack but defended his former coach after receiving a message from a viewer that said 'Schmidt out'.

"That's ludicrous," Fitzgerald said.

"I think we need to be careful. We were pretty close to winning both games even though we didn't play great. I've come up under his coaching principles and I've been very successful with them. Ireland won two championships out of four and he oversaw Brian O'Driscoll leaving the team, Paul O'Connell leaving the team, a lot of key guys. I think he's done an unbelievable job.

"I think he's really smart, I think he plays to our strengths.

"I think he's one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best, and we should stick with him because he has a plan."

Watch the full episode of The Left Wing below:

Six Nations coverage on The Left Wing, in association with Aer Lingus, the official airline to the Irish rugby team.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to Saturday's game against England, click here

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