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Sunday 22 October 2017

BOD: Schmidt to break World Cup hoodoo

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL believes coach Joe Schmidt is the man to end Ireland's hoodoo of never having made a World Cup semi-final.

The world-record international caps holder stated his only "potential regret" in retiring is not being part of a Schmidt side that will take on the world in 2015.

"He is a great coach. He just lives and breathes the game and there's nothing he doesn't know," said O'Driscoll last night, in an interview on BT Sport.

O'Driscoll spoke at length about how Ireland were undercooked under Eddie O'Sullivan in 2007 and just beaten by a better Wales in 2011.

"We never really turned up. I don't think we peaked at the right times," he said, in relation to the four tournaments he played in.

"On one or two occasions we were showing form coming into it. The obvious one was '07 when we just narrowly lost the Six Nations to France in the last seconds of the last game. We were playing really well that year," he said.

Sadly, it will remain a deep regret that coach O'Sullivan oversaw a badly miscalculated pre-season and too few matches ahead of the competition.

"We didn't play enough games. We didn't get our hands on the ball early enough. There was a real focus on getting huge because it was going to be a physical World Cup.

"We were playing France and Argentina in our group. We didn't want to get bullied.

"We got a bit sucked into that. We were totally undercooked and fortunate not to be beaten by Georgia in that World Cup. That was a real come down".

Meanwhile, Schmidt and the IRFU have yet to begin discussions about extending the Ireland supremo's reign in charge.

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