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Joe Schmidt Explains Sexton Half-Time Substitution As Ireland Fail To Inspire

Joe Schmidt Explains Sexton Half-Time Substitution As Ireland Fail To Inspire
By Mark Farrelly Updated

After a disappointing Irish performance against Russia, Joe Schmidt pointed towards the conditions as a reason by Ireland's error-laden victory.

While they did secure a bonus point 35-0 victory, the match will be remembered more for the handling errors and repeated failings in trying to break down Russia. In the first half however, the team started well and led 21-0 at the break.

Johnny Sexton failed to emerge after half-time but while speaking to ITV after the match, Joe Schmidt explained that it was a purely tactical decision:

That was tactical. We said maybe 40 minutes this week and maybe 40 to 60 minutes next week.

He certainly could have played on. That was my decision to take him off. We had three tries, we only needed one more. It took a long time to get. I was pretty nervous for a while there but then we almost finished with three in the last 15 minutes.

Schmidt blamed the conditions for some of the attacking breakdowns: "It wasn't for lack of line breaks. I thought there was a some cutting edge play from us but just the conditions. You'd go into contact - for both sides - as soon as the ball got squeezed it just slipped out like a bar of soap."

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See Also: Player Ratings As Ireland Get The Result But Not A Performance Against Russia

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