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Could Joe Schmidt's Notorious Video Review Meetings Be Stifling Ireland?

Could Joe Schmidt's Notorious Video Review Meetings Be Stifling Ireland?
By Conor O'Leary

No one goes into more detail than Joe Schmidt. We've heard countless anecdotes about the (in)famous morning morning video analysis sessions including his early days at Leinster where he called out O'Driscoll and other senior members.

It's long been heralded as one of the reasons why Ireland are so accurate and clinical, but as Ireland's play gets more and more predictable - is it becoming a problem? Schmidt maintains that he encourages his players to play what they see in front of them, which includes offloading if the players deem it the right move.

But speaking on Off The Ball on Friday night, Brian O'Driscoll put forward the theory that Ireland players are afraid to offload in case they are picked up in that Monday morning review:

I think there is an aspect that players look back on the video or moments in the game and maybe if Joe wasn't there coach and didn't know that he would pick them up on certain aspects of the video work or throwing an offload.

It's not an outlandish thought. In an age where offloads are being used to tear teams apart, Ireland are unique in their reluctance to use the tactic. Schmidt is right in saying that Ireland are putting with on the ball and looking to play fast, which suggests there has to be opportunities to use the offload. Schmidt's Leinster teams, and even his early Ireland team against New Zealand in 2013 used offloading to devastating success.

Players playing with fear, it never goes well does it?

Yet another reason to provide a fresh breath of youth into the squad.

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See Also: Brian O'Driscoll Hits The Nail On The Head Regarding Ireland's Lack Of Line-Breaks

Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

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