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Sexton Reveals Details Of Schmidt's 'Values Meeting' Which Drove Leinster To Success

Sexton Reveals Details Of Schmidt's 'Values Meeting' Which Drove Leinster To Success
By Gavin Cooney
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It might be time to revise the Christopher Hitchens line that 'Everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay'. Today, everyone has a podcast in them.

Eamon Dunphy's The Stand, however, has been loosed upon the public and for this we should be grateful - it is really very good.

Today's episode consisted of an hour-long interview with Johnny Sexton, and it featured Eamo in vintage form as Ruby Walsh, Henry Shefflin, Padraig Harrington, Brian O'Driscoll and Aidan O'Brien all got a mention as being among Ireland's greatest sportspeople along with Sexton himself.


Among the non-Dunphy highlights was Sexton revealing the impact Joe Schmidt made at Leinster, when he replaced Michael Cheika. It was the latter who first hauled Leinster to the heights of the Heineken Cup and helped to slough off the infamous 'ladyboy' tag, but Schmidt managed to keep them there. In three years at Leinster, Schmidt took them to six finals - winning four (two European Cups, a Challenge Cup, and a single league title).

Sexton told Dunphy of how Schmidt managed to exceed Cheika's high bar.

You have to give a lot of credit to Michael Cheika, who came before him. He overhauled the culture and got rid of some people who he felt weren't adding to it. He developed a really strong work ethic, and got a bunch of hungry people and we drive on.

Joe came in and added to that. Rather than winning being everything, it was all about values and how you act day-to-day, on and off the pitch.

I remember our first values meeting with Joe, and we had to come up with some of the words we wanted to live by for the next few years. We hadn't done this before.

One of my suggestions was 'Hard work', and Joe said 'Well, is hard work going to be enough? If you work too hard you are going to get hurt'. out of all of these talks, 'discipline' became a word. Discipline on the pitch and discipline off the pitch, with your nutrition and recovery.

So, a word that encapsulated everything, whereas Cheika would have been all about 'hard work, hard work'.

He asked us to think about what the perception might have been of us from outside Leinster. He had just come from the outside, so his perception might have been different to how ours might have been.

He doubted how humble we were, as people and an organisation, so that became a word and something to work on.

We never spoke about winning and wanting to win trophies, we spoke about living to these values and holding each other accountable to them, every day.

The full interview is worth a whirl - you can listen to it here.

See Also: Ryle Nugent Has New Commentary Home For November Internationals


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