Rugby

"Don't Give Up On This Team" - Joe Schmidt Looking Forward After Wales Hammering

"Don't Give Up On This Team" - Joe Schmidt Looking Forward After Wales Hammering

Wales are Guinness Six Nations champions for 2019, and you couldn't argue that they don't deserve it. They thoroughly outplayed Ireland this afternoon in pretty much every area.

It has been an incredibly disappointing championship for Ireland, and Joe Schmidt's last Six Nations game in charge could hardly have gone worse. They head into this autumn's World Cup having lost all of the momentum that was built up in the past few years, and the tournament in Japan is suddenly looking like a daunting challenge.

Despite all of this, Joe Schmidt remains positive. Speaking to Virgin Media Sport after the game, he said that it was difficult to match the desire of a Welsh team searching for a Grad Slam. He also asked people now to give up on this Ireland team:

They were hugely emotionally up for it. I know that, because we were in a similar position last year going to Twickenham, and you go get another five per cent. It is hard to match, but you've got to be able to match it. There will be occasions in the future that are like that.

The one thing I would say is don't give up on this team. They are a hardworking and skilful bunch who will take this on the chin. They will be gracious in defeat, because Wales did a super job...

I think Wales after the last six years, you know we had three of these championships, Wales hadn't won one in six years and were on the cusp of a Grand Slam, there was so much to play for for them.

Schmidt also pushed back on suggestions that Ireland ultimately regretted their refusal to allow the roof of the stadium to be closed:

We usually play in this conditions quite well to be honest, out set-piece is a real strength. I felt the gap wasn't controlled well today, and they certainly squeezed our line-out, and we had expected that that would be pretty well looked after...

I still have confidence that we will bounce back and be competitive the next time we are out and about.

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While his time in the Six Nations ended on a sour note, the Kiwi was still thrilled with how his first few campaigns player out:

If you said to me six years ago that 'Joe you could have three Six Nations and one of them will be a Grand Slam', I would have taken that with both hands. I can't endorse this group enough for what they've achieved over six years, and I've been on the periphery of some phenomenal performances.

Some players that I've been lucky enough to be alongside, and I've seen them develop into real quality players. While it wasn't our day today, that is the nature of sport. We've got to pick ourselves up off the ground, and we've also got to acknowledge that Wales have had a super season...

Now he and the rest of the squad must regroup ahead of the World Cup, a tournament that has the potential to define the narrative of his tenure.

SEE ALSO: Player Ratings As Awful Ireland Fail To Deliver In Wales

Gary Connaughton

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