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The Story Which Makes Us Wish Joe Schmidt Coached England In 2011

The Story Which Makes Us Wish Joe Schmidt Coached England In 2011
By Conor Neville
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When Joe Schmidt was appointed Ireland coach, the non-Leinster contingent were in for a shock. In Tom English's fantastic new book 'No Borders - Playing rugby for Ireland', the players speak about the impact Schmidt made when he assumed the top job.

Andrew Trimble recalls that when Schmidt walked into a room, all the Leinster players suddenly sat bolt upright. 'It was like the head teacher had walked into the room.'

And it's clear that what's known as the 'key card holder' incident remains in the players' heads.

Early in Schmidt's reign, the players remember an apparently innocuous incident when one of the Irish players dropped their room key in the corridor of the hotel.


Rory Best picked up the story.

Joe found it and brought it into the team meeting. He says, 'Just to let you know that somebody on their way to their room dropped their key and holder on the floor and that sort of stuff won't be tolerated. If we're sloppy off the pitch, then we'll be sloppy on it.' I was sitting there thinking, 'Oh my God!'

Paul O'Connell recalled how Schmidt said the incident was almost tantamount to littering.


He said it reflected badly on an Irish international rugby player that he was almost littering in a hotel. And he had a point.

Incidentally, Conor Murray felt the need to deny it was he that dropped the key.

It's an instructive story, but one which makes us wonder about Schmidt's attitude to the carry on of the England team at the 2011 World Cup.


I mean, we know his attitude to key dropping. But what about his views on the thorny matter of dwarf throwing?

Read more: Fascinating Insight Into Joe Schmidt's Managerial Quirks

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