Schmidt seeks home comfort

2014-01-22 20:01
Joe Schmidt (Getty Images)

London - Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has said strong home form could be the key to his side's Six Nations title chances.

The New Zealander's adopted country welcome Scotland and Wales to Dublin in the opening two rounds of the Championship next month.

However, they face just a six-day turnaround between those matches and Schmidt said how Ireland coped with those Aviva Stadium clashes would set the tone for their tournament.

"If we could defend the Aviva that would be great," said Schmidt at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday.

"If we manage an away victory against either England or France as well, then that would put us in the mix for a shot at being in the top two.

"That would be a fantastic achievement given where we've come from, but that's not to say that's our clear expectation.

"We know we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us.

"The six-day turnaround from Scotland to Wales is a really big ask. "There's nothing we can do about that and you just have to get on with it, just like you can't control the calls of a referee.

"But it's unfortunate that we're not going to get a great run-in to a game against a great team like Wales, especially after facing a combative outfit like Scotland.

"We'll only really have one real training session that week, so we'll have to make it count."

Ireland finished a disappointing fifth in last season's Six Nations but, under Schmidt, ran their new coach's native New Zealand desperately close before going down 24-22 to the world champions in a thrilling match in Dublin in November.

Reflecting on that last-gasp loss, former Leinster boss Schmidt admitted: "It's been a bit of a recurring nightmare for me, however, because it's the first time I've had this experience as a national coach.

"In the past I have always had the next week to get a game out of my system, and my team too.

"So adapting to that change has been a different process for me.

"The players are in good shape though, and now we're just excited about the challenges ahead in the competition."

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell added: "It's a shame we didn't close out (the New Zealand) game like we should have done because we achieved a lot of the things we'd been working on with Joe in that game.

"Playing Scotland first will be a very tough game for us, we were beaten well by them up there last year."

This Six Nations is set to be Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll's last before retirement but O'Connell stressed there had been no slacking from the veteran centre.

"He's still in good shape, as hungry as ever, and driving our standards. He has a lot of respect all across the Six Nations and especially within our squad."

Read more on:    six nations  |  rugby

Pumas hunt down Griquas

2014-08-22 21:10


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs

After the first weekend's Rugby Championship action, which team do you see as the strongest title contender?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.