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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Mike Ross will repay Schmidt's faith

The All Blacks could lure Schmidt back home in 2017

Mike Ross with Charlie Cooke (3) at Life Style Sports, Grafton Street to mark the launch of the new Ireland rugby jersey. Life Style Sports has announced that should Ireland become World champions on October 31, it will refund anyone who purchases the new Ireland rugby jersey in store or online (www.lifestylesports.com) on July 24, 25 or 26 2015.
Mike Ross with Charlie Cooke (3) at Life Style Sports, Grafton Street to mark the launch of the new Ireland rugby jersey. Life Style Sports has announced that should Ireland become World champions on October 31, it will refund anyone who purchases the new Ireland rugby jersey in store or online (www.lifestylesports.com) on July 24, 25 or 26 2015.

When Mike Ross was in the doldrums and his career was threatening to disintegrate, Joe Schmidt stood behind him last season.

And he stood up for Schmidt in the Six Nations as a perfect example of faith given and repaid.

The news of the New Zealander's one-year contract extension position maintains Schmidt's veneer of control over his destiny.

"I mean, the only job I could imagine that would have tempted him would have been his home country," thought Ross.

"I'd say he's well established here and results have been going very well and I think he's quite happy where he is right now."

Schmidt's smart contract positioning until the summer of 2017 speaks of his self-belief.

"I think that he'll back himself to get another contract without any issues," offered Ross.

"If it's the middle of a World Cup cycle and he decides to go, then that gives you time to get a coach in before the next World Cup."

There is also the significant landmark of the next British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand following the 2005 debacle administered by Clive Woodward.

This is viewed as a two-way tie between Warren Gatland and his fellow Kiwi Schmidt.

"I'd definitely back him for the role," added Ross.

DOUBTS

Why wouldn't he? It was the trust of Ireland's coach that pushed out the doubts that must have permeated Ross when he was dropped by Leinster in favour of Marty Moore and Tadhg Furlong.

"I probably wasn't performing as well as I needed to.

"I was coming back from injury and the scrum hadn't been going particularly well, especially in those Harlequins back-to-back games. Marty and Tadhg were playing well and the in-form players got the nod."

The knowledge that Schmidt still held him in high esteem came as a source of confidence.

"It does give you a boost. At the same time, I had to prove myself," he added.

"He showed faith in me but, at the same time, I had to play the (Irish)Wolfhounds game and show I could provide what was required.

"If I hadn't played well in that game he would have gone onwards."

From there, Ross was, once again, the cornerstone of Ireland's scrum throughout the Six Nations.

It was never more pronounced than in the one-on-one revenge he reaped over England's Joe Marler, his Champions Cup nemesis against Harlequins.

The 35 year-old begins as Ireland's number one choice in the number three jersey just over two weeks away from the first of four World Cup warm-up games.

Schmidt has left no doubt about what he wants from the men in green.

"You always have to be on your toes.

"If you don't know your detail, that's the one unforgivable sin," shared Ross.

"Everyone has to be clued in and switched on and know exactly what they're doing.

"It's not like he's a 'one size fits all'. He tailors things for the teams we're playing and their specific individual weaknesses."

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