Rugby

"He Just Started Abusing Me" - Luke Fitzgerald On World Cup Bollocking From Joe Schmidt

"He Just Started Abusing Me" - Luke Fitzgerald On World Cup Bollocking From Joe Schmidt

Luke Fitzgerald has lifted the lid on a dressing down from Ireland coach Joe Schmidt during preparations for the 2015 World Cup in which the former Leinster winger admitted his confidence was badly shaken.

Speaking on his regular rugby podcast with Independent.ie 'The Left Wing', he claimed that in the week leading up to the Italy game he was taken aback by an extremely strong reaction from Schmidt to an incident so minor that Fitzgerald was not sure whether or not it was he that the coach was upset with.

While he would feature from the bench against Argentina and put in an impressive performance, Fitzgerald admitted that he was close to tears such was the level of abuse during the Ireland's preparations for the Italy game.

A few things didn't go right for me. I remember getting absolutely rinsed by Joe in a session. We were training against Harlequins and I'd never been so embarrassed. He just started abusing me.

It started off... I went clean through on a linebreak and he just didn't like the line I took but I went clean through and I was like, 'Is he giving out to me?'

There was a few in a row and I just fell apart. He started giving out to me in front of both teams. Whatever about giving out to me in front of the Irish lads. I've never been so embarrassed, I completely fell apart. Dropped a few clean ones, didn't make it into the team for the weekend.

I left the place nearly in tears. I didn't know whether to box him or... I just fell apart. Off the back of that, I didn't get picked for one of the matches. It might have been the Italian week.

I was unbelievably upset about it. I just remember thinking, 'I better get away quickly before I say something that I'll really regret'. I went and had a coffee and calmed myself down.

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Wow.

Any player that has played under Schmidt will tell you that the Kiwi has a meticulous attention to detail and that he is not shy to let you know if you have upset him, but from Fitzgerald's account that sounds like you had better make sure every single thing you do on the training pitch is up to his high standards.

You can listen to Fitzgerald's account of events in full on the latest episode of The Left Wing, which also features former Lenister man Ian Madigan, over on Independent.ie.

Mikey Traynor

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