/ News

Schmidt brushes aside claims of Leinster bias
ESPN Staff
March 19, 2014
Joe Schmidt - © PA Photos

Barely have the hangovers begun to wear off from a weekend of celebration for Irish rugby than Joe Schmidt, Ireland's coach, has had to react to claims he leans too heavily on players from Leinster.

With only three Munster players featuring regularly, Schmidt, who was Leinster coach before taking on the national side, could have faced even tougher criticism had Ireland not won the Six Nations.

But at the post-Six Nations press conference in Dublin, Schmidt was uncompromising. "For me, I select Irish players," he said. "If people want to differentiate, if people want to divide it provincially, that's their prerogative. But, as a group, we're just trying to select the Irish national team."

"If people are going to be distracted by provincial loyalties, that's certainly not happening within the group. There has been a super unity in the group. It's always disappointing to get criticised. I can totally understand the perception."

As attention turns to next year's Rugby World Cup, Schmidt said the overarching priority was the Six Nations. "That's the one we've got to be repeatedly good at. The World Cup is once every four years and it's got to be kept in mind because it's the peak.

"But, those five Six Nations Tests - the amount of pressure that exists in those Tests - it's hard to go outside the players who are comfortable and in-form and keep continuity.

"It's played over seven weeks. That was one of the things I miscalculated. I knew how to count weeks but I thought that we'd be able to give a little more opportunity without losing continuity."

That view was backed by Rob Kearney. "The coaches have a big job. They have to win each game. If you lose it's not a valid excuse to say, 'It's okay, we're building for a World Cup'."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Rugby

    Brumbies gain altitude edge

    The Brumbies have been working their rehabilitation group in an altitude room at the University of Canberra in a bid to gain an edge over their Super Rugby rivals

  • Rugby

    Scotland coaching box door shattered after defeat

    The frustrations of coaching were never more evident than after Scotland slumped to a last-minute defeat by Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday

  • Football

    Wenger relieved to shake off European hangover

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger welcomed a positive response to midweek European misery as his team beat Everton 2-0 at Emirates Stadium

  • Tennis

    Nadal claims first title in nearly nine months

    Rafael Nadal lifted his first title in nearly nine months Sunday after defeating Juan Monaco 6-4 6-1 at the Argentina Open

  • Football

    Mourinho: I need to feed myself with titles

    Jose Mourinho was overjoyed to satisfy his hunger for silverware with a first trophy of his second spell as Chelsea manager following a 2-0 Capital One Cup final defeat of Tottenham at Wembley

  • News
  • Features
  • Mishits

    Noel Gallagher hails 'the Brodge's' powers of recovery

    Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher marked his return to football punditry by coining a new name for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

  • Rewind to 2003

    Galacticos and Red Devils serve up classic

    We rewind to 2003 when Real Madrid brought a park attitude to their Champions League clash with Manchester United and played out a 4-3 thriller

  • Rewind To 1988

    The real Cool Runnings

    The tale of the Jamaica bobsled team who triumphed against the odds at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics is embedded in pop culture more than 25 years on, writes Nick Atkin

  • UFC

    Top 10 best UFC fighters of all time

    Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner

  • Week in Words

    Giroud gets emotional

    In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Olivier Giroud gets emotional, Dimitar Berbatov is a bit smug, Arsene Wenger is hurting and Rory McIlroy is "p***** off"

Sponsored Links
Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!