Coach doesn’t want distractions
– 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