Criticism of Joe Schmidt's gameplan is news to Joe Schmidt 7 years ago

Criticism of Joe Schmidt's gameplan is news to Joe Schmidt

Not a voracious reader or pop culture aficionado, or so Joe would have us believe.

The Ireland coach is well aware of his team's need to find that extra 20% needed to beat England, on Sunday. He is blissfully unaware, however, of the media brickbats about his team's dogged style of play.

Advertisement

Asked about media pieces on Ireland's rudimentary rugby, Schmidt said, 'I didn't read it. That is a bit disconcerting, probably.

'We'll let other people make those assertions that our game-plan is whatever it is. If you look across the statistics, the teams [Ireland and England] are very similar, in the amount of kicking they have done and ball they have transferred.

'I guess, one of the things I would say is that, in modern rugby there are a lot of big men on a pitch that is not that big. It may look quite big, depending on how far up in the stands you are, but there is not a heck of a lot of room out there.

'Therefore, I believe you've got to be three=dimensional in your attack. If you are one-dimensional - particularly against England, given the line speed they generate and the power they have in the contact area - it is going to be a tough day.'

Advertisement

Schmidt added, 'No matter what way you go in to [play] England, we are under no illusions that it is going to be a tough day.'

The former Leinster coach revealed a knee injury, which has since cleared, prevented Ulster's Iain Henderson from properly challenging Jordi Murphy for the No8 jersey. Asked about how close Luke Fitzgerald was to a bench spot, Schmidt took time to praise the Leinster winger but did not neglect to mention Keith Earls and Dave Kearney.

Moments before he made his team announcement, at Carton House, a journalist stumbled backward in the Dictaphone scrum - reminiscent of Madonna's cape-induced trip at the Brit Awards.

'Lady Gaga,' Schmidt remarked.

Advertisement

Upon learningĀ it was Madonna that had the Brit slip, Schmidt responded, 'Ah, that's it. Similar.'

The nation should rejoice that the Ireland coach has a greater interest in plotting England's downfall than watching fading pop supernovas and absorbing the criticisms of a team on the verge of equalling their Test record for victories.