Coach doesn’t want dis­trac­tions

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Dublin

– Ire­land head coach Joe Sch­midt (right) has warned his play­ers lin­ing up for to­day’s Test with Ar­gentina that they need to fo­cus on that and not the clash with world cham­pi­ons New Zealand a week later.

Sch­midt, who is hop­ing for a suc­cess­ful end to a re­mark­able year which has seen them se­cure the Six Na­tions Grand Slam and a Test se­ries win in Aus­tralia, said they would be only hu­man not to be think­ing of the match be­tween the top two ranked teams in the world but it could prove costly such is com­pe­ti­tion for places.

Ar­gentina should pro­vide a test­ing ex­am­i­na­tion pro­vided they are not too tired hav­ing come out of the Rugby Cham­pi­onship with two vic­to­ries un­der new head coach Mario Ledesma, in­clud­ing their first in Aus­tralia since 1983.

Sch­midt, who is seen by some as a fu­ture coach of the All Blacks af­ter his suc­cess with Ire­land, made it clear that any­one who doesn’t meet his high stan­dards to­day will have the next week­end off.

“They un­der­stand fully that any who look that far ahead (to the All Blacks match) they com­pro­mise what they de­liver this week­end,” he said.

Sch­midt said Ar­gentina would prove chal­leng­ing in many re­spects.

“In par­tic­u­lar, this is our first south­ern hemi­sphere game of this se­ries and you saw in Aus­tralia, the way that south­ern hemi­sphere rugby is worth a fair bit of free­dom,” said the New Zealan­der.

He is es­pe­cially wary of the Pu­mas’ vi­brant, at­tack-minded backs.

“If their back three get the ball the more likely they are go­ing to break teams open,” said Sch­midt. – AFP

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