Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Joe Schmidt: The reaction

In all the hoopla about the Lions, a major story nearly passed us by, Joe Schmidt will lead Ireland to the World Cup in 2015

But what does this mean for Ireland?

This for one: 

Schmidt's teams are known for impressive backline tries, but it's the use of ball handling forwards that are the fulcrum to the success.
Each member of the team is comfortable with the ball, and while they have devastating moves, they play heads up rugby, are patient and take their opportunities.

Heaslip's first try here shows the level of support that the ball carriers have, the intention to keep the ball alive when it's on, and not to do something courageous when it's not.

This is what Rob Penney has been trying to do with Munster, and possibly with a mix of Ulster, Leinster and Connacht players, Ireland can achieve ball playing forwards, driven by Jonny Sexton, Ian Madigan, Paddy Jackson, Ronan O'Gara and Ian Keatley to ensure that the right options are taken.

Schmidt makes great use of his bench, and isn't afraid to pick players to suit certain games. The use of Isaac Boss in more attritional games over Reddan, with Reddan coming on is most seen here. 

Against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup semi final, Cian Healy went on a great run which swung momentum in Leinster's favour at a key moment in the match. Healy was subsequently taken off, and Heinke van der Merwe delivered a massive scrum which firmly put Leinster in the driving seat. Schmidt trusts his players to make key moments in game like that, which bodes well for those stuck on the bench in the last 6 Nations like Dave Kilcoyne and Sean Cronin.

Jordi Murphy, Brendan Macken and Eoin O'Malley are three youngsters that Schmidt wasn't afraid to use at high levels of the Heineken Cup. Schmidt will be prepared to use young performers like Ian Madigan, Tommy O'Donnell, Robbie Henshaw, Kieran Marmion or Iain Henderson.

The future is bright for Irish rugby.

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