Joe's intensity has pepped us up – Bowe
IF SIMPLICITY can be genius, then Joe Schmidt is your man. Ireland wing Tommy Bowe was eager to share how Schmidt has "stripped back a lot" of the complicated parts of the game.
"There's definitely clarity," he said.
"It is very simple stuff but there's so many variations, you know, one or two players, there's huge variations off everything and that will keep oppositions guessing.
"You might do all your video analysis looking at a team. If they line up a certain way and people have an idea about what they're going to do, but we have so many options off one play it makes for a headache for the opposition."
Schmidt places a heavy emphasis on what they call "simulation", that is acting like you are going to receive the ball when you aren't. This is what makes for great deception.
"Players all have a specific purpose to do. There's no point just clocking off. Whether you're a dummy-runner or you're getting the ball everyone has to be alive all of the time," said Bowe.
"I think that sort of urgency and intensity combined with the clarity has really pepped up the squad. Certainly in the last week or so training sessions have been as intense as I've ever remembered them."
The coach also puts a priority on his wings not staying stationary, especially close to the fringes where slow-moving forwards can be wrong-footed or beaten by speed.
"He's very keen for the wingers to get involved like all the backs. It's a case of going hunting for the ball and that's something that I'm very excited about," said Bowe.
The Monaghan man is that unusual animal, a multi-skilled wing that could play in the centre, as swift in the air as he is on the ground.
He is new to Schmidt as his coach, but not to giving the New Zealander headaches; for example, when Bowe created havoc for the Ospreys against Leinster in the 2010 PRO12 League Grand final.
"We've a big match this weekend but we've got a lot of things in place. It's quite simple but at the same time there are a few tweaks that will hopefully open up holes and stretch teams," said Bowe. "With Joe, as a team we've been trying to get the small things right, get our intensity right and get everybody to know their roles and things should follow on from that."