Andrew Trimble picked up the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year award for 2014 on Tuesday, after his superb performances for Ulster and for Ireland in the Six Nations.
Trimble started out the year well down the pecking order in terms of Irish wingers. By the end of 2013, Tommy Bowe, Simon Zebo, Luke Fitzgerald and Keith Earls were all ahead of him the queue, had one taken a straw poll of supporters.
After the award, Trimble made intriguing comments during which he commended Schmidt for 'making him a better player'.
I just put myself under pressure a lot and I’ve learned a lot from Joe and the environment he’s created which, as unpleasant an environment as it is at times, it’s the environment that gets the best out of me and I know I reacted well so I’m sure all the boys would say the same.
Schmidt certainly is famed for being a demanding coach. He has no tolerance for players arriving at coaching without their homework done and players (excluding Mike Ross who was given a pass because never scored) have to run laps for celebrating tries - on the very Roy Keane like rationale that a postman doesn't celebrate when he delivers letters.