Rugby

Joe Schmidt Vents Frustration At Warren Gatland Ahead Of Wales Showdown

Joe Schmidt Vents Frustration At Warren Gatland Ahead Of Wales Showdown

This is the closest we will ever see to a war of words featuring Joe Schmidt. While Warren 'the Welsh players dislike the Irish most' Gatland is a veteran of manipulating the microphone, Schmidt usually chooses to either keep shtum or lavish opponents with praise.

Yesterday, however, Schmidt couldn't help but express a bit of frustration at his opposite number.

After a World Cup warm-up game between Ireland and Wales in 2015, Gatland served Schmidt and Ireland with the most backhanded of compliments.

I don’t think Ireland play a lot of rugby but they’ve been incredibly successful. I thought they were really narrow at times and a lot of the players are quite narrow.

When they play that game effectively, when they use their one-off runners effectively and get some success from cross-kicks, that’s what they’re good at doing. They’re good at pressurising you and forcing you into turnovers and building the score.

Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Six Nations game, Schmidt was asked if the perception of his team as a relatively blunt attacking force irked him. While he did not directly mention Gatland's name in his response, these quotes do carry with them the echo of Gatland's previous criticism.

Sometimes it is frustrating because one opposition coach has tried to create that story and people have picked it up without doing their own analysis.

I think there is a degree of frustration from our players. I am not sure why he would get more credence than [Argentina coach] Daniel Hourcade who was really impressed or by [erstwhile Springboks coach] Allister Coetzee who was really impressed.

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Earlier in the day, Schmidt was asked if Ireland needed to vary their attacking approach to meet the Welsh challenge, to which he responded by once again accentuating that Ireland do vary their attack.

What can you change? It’s a game of rugby.

Sometimes we kick, sometimes we run wide, sometimes we go through the middle.

I think if anyone tried to analyse what we do, there is a lot of variety in what we do.

And thus concludes perhaps the most fiery Joe Schmidt war of words we are ever likely to see.

[Irish Independent]

See Also: 'Forget About Perfection, Focus On Progression': How Improved Well-Being Can Lift Performance

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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