Cape Town - Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has
played down talk that his players are burnt out ahead of their three-Test
series against South Africa.
injuries have struck their camp before they set off for the southern
hemisphere, with loose forwards Sean O'Brien and Peter O'Mahony, prop Cian
Healy, fullback Rob Kearney, flyhalf Jonathan Sexton and wings Luke Fitzgerald,
Tommy Bowe and Dave Kearney ruled out.
Schmidt has said that fewer Irish teams being involved in the Champions Cup
knockouts means they're not as fatigued as people suggest.
my perspective, our game minutes are down this year so our players have
actually played a little bit less this year compared to last year," he
told Press Association Sport.
a World Cup year - any year post-World Cup, I agree, that season is long.
the time you take the pre-season, the four warm-up Test matches, and as soon as
you're playing matches at a high level, they're more attritional mentally as
well as physically because you've got to really extend yourself because you
know your opponent is at a very high level.
that perspective, it is tough. From the coaches’ perspective, we're incredibly
excited about the opportunity this gives us."
commented about the new faces coming in: "If there are guys missing, I'm
going to know more about Tiernan O'Halloran, more about Matt Healy in a week-to-week
been down to Connacht. I've seen them train. I've certainly seen them play a
lot of times.
you get to know a player more and you see him slot in and you say, 'there's the
level, here it is now, how will he go? Gee, you're coping really well'.
another stride you can take, so this is a really good opportunity for us.
of the things a lot of people reference is the depth of our playing pool. I
think this is a really good opportunity to extend that depth and find out more
better time to do it when you've got time to build on those players you see
showing you promise.
is an attritional year because of its longevity. It hasn't been as much because
of the actual game time that players have played but there is a volume in
training that does take its toll."