Thursday 18 January 2018

Heaslip: Schmidt more hands on than Gatland who watches in the shadows

Jamie Heaslip
Jamie Heaslip
Wayne Barnes

The last thing you want to do with Jamie Heaslip is put words in his mouth.

He doesn't like that. Not many do.

The two-tour British & Irish Lions number eight worked under Warren Gatland in South Africa 2009 and Australia 2013 and has worked under Joe Schmidt at Leinster, now at Ireland.

How are they different? "I've obviously had Gatty when he was top coach (2013) and when he was second in command with Geech (Ian McGeechan) (2009), then Joe at club and international level.

"So I've had them at different levels," he said.

"Initially, I'd say Joe is probably a bit more hands on than Gats. That's the first thing that comes up to mind.

"They're both equally savvy, and intelligent when it comes to formulating game-plans.

"They're very different in terms of how they get their messages across.

"It's not that they have different philosophies.

"It's a different idea of how they view a game. They emphasise different things.

"The one clear thing is that Joe would be a lot more hands on and a lot more involved at training sessions."

There is the image of a Brian Clough-type scouring the training pitch in his tracksuit, mouthing out orders, keeping the drills as sharp as a knife.

"Gats would stand back a lot more and direct another coach underneath.

"You'd have more dealings with Gats away from the field or in meetings.

"You'd be dealing with the coaches more. It's not to say that he wouldn't step in on the training field.

"I just think that would be a distinct enough difference between them."

It is suggested to Heaslip that he is describing the difference between a coach, Schmidt, and a manager, Gatland.

"You are trying put words in my mouth," he replied.

Back on the field, Heaslip will have to deal with English referee Wayne Barnes, the man who has shown him his only red card in international rugby for an act of lunacy on Richie McCaw and a yellow on the first occasion he captained his country.

"I've had dealings with him," he laughed.

"I actually get on very well with him, which is the funny thing.

"On the field, he is quite direct. I like the way he will make a decision and that's it.

"He will not have any kind of back talk and that's the way it should be reffed."

The Naas man will leave most of the political chit-chat to his captain.

"Even though Paul's the captain you can approach him. I think he respects you enough to ask him about something, but you just got to get your timing right.

"It's like anything in life. Timing is everything."

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