Sunday 19 November 2017

Joe Schmidt hails the impact of Ian Madigan and Luke Fitzgerald

Ian Madigan kicks crossfield to setup Luke Fitzgerald for Ireland's fourth try.
Ian Madigan kicks crossfield to setup Luke Fitzgerald for Ireland's fourth try.
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt hailed the impact of Ian Madigan at out-half and his Leinster team-mate Luke Fitzgerald after the 26-22 victory against Scotland.

The duo combined superbly for the decisive score of the game, when Madigan's pinpoint cross-field chip was gathered by Fitzgerald who pounced for the try.

"He demonstrated he could play the position. His line-kicking as good and so as his place-kicking although we could have done with his last one.

"He had a crucial involvement twice in the third try and an absolutely crucial element to play for his schoolmate Luke Fitzgerald to score the fourth try. He had a few issues with tackling and he will have a few ideas of how he can do better.

"As for Luke, a couple of things slipped out of his hands, from one they went up the field and scored. He looked. strong in the air and the ground, some great acceleration and footwork. And he finished that try superbly with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne coming across.

"He made something very difficult to do look very easy.

"We have started 29 players and capped two players for the first time so with two wins, that gives confidence to the group "The real positive is that we were tested at a number of levels from the very first lineout. The scrum went really well. We were tested on the scoreboard and we had to show character to come back.

"We were tested in defence and we fell off a number of tackles. But the most important thing is we had a clean bill of health, apart from cramp which is not unusual at this stage of the season.

"We only had a few sessions together with this team. The lads last week had a full week to prepare but were not put under he same amount of pressure as we were today against Scotland.

"We were a bit static in the first-half and when we opened up, we both looked good in attack but not so good in defence which was probably why there were five tries in the second-half.

"Simon Zebo just had cramp. He gave the players around him confidence in the air. He is still getting his angles right defensively. He showed some lovely steps, had some nice passes and his line created and finished a lovely try."

Captain for the day Sean O'Brien was happy with the win but admitted that there is much to work on before Wales arrive here in a fortnight.

"I'll take the win, it was a mixed bag, even for me personally. I got a few turnovers which helped. We didn't help ourselves in terms of forcing passes and not playing in the right areas. We have improvements to make."

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