Saturday 7 December 2019

Schmidt tackling laws, injury and suspension

DECISIONS: Joe Schmidt. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
DECISIONS: Joe Schmidt. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It is a fine balancing act, this carry on of coaching.

Sometimes decisions are taken out of your hands and placed in those who have an incomplete understanding of the wider game.

Ireland's Joe Schmidt wants to get Ireland to the World Cup in the best possible shape with as many of his best players as possible.

"We're all trying to play the long game, but be competitive in the short-term," said Schmidt.

The injury to Joey Carbery has already caused a rethink around the out-half slots, as evidenced by the promotion of Ross Byrne to his first start tomorrow.

There are other matters which are worrying to Schmidt with player suspension at the top of the list.

"I think there was one red card in the last World Cup, and there were 17 citings," he said.

"That's a massive disconnect between what the citing commissioners were doing and what the referees thought in real time."

More recently, All Black Scott Barrett's red card against Australia for a 'shoulder to the head with force' blew up into a controversy.

"For us, it is trying to predict what's going to happen and what decisions are going to be made," said Schmidt.


"For Scott Barrett to get red and the number of other incidents in that game, you go 'well, that's a red, but there's a whole lot of other things missed'.

"It seems very extreme that it's zero or red."

The problem with World Rugby is that they appear, on a whim, to crack down on specific aspects of the game for a short period.

It can be something as simple as a scrum-half's put-in to the scrum or attention to the offside line.

At the moment, the high tackle is a hot topic with force-to-the-head a red-card sanction.

It is this concentration on one area that can lead to others going unpoliced.

This is what leads leaders like Schmidt to bemoan the aspects left unattended, like the dangerous clean-out from the side on Dan Leavy that ruined the flanker's World Cup.

Ireland's biggest win in the next three matches will be to avoid any more injuries or suspensions.

ENGLAND: E Daly; J Cokanasiga, M Tuilagi, O Farrell, J May; G Ford, B Youngs; J Marler, J George, K Sinckler, M Itoje, G Kruis, T Curry, S Underhill, B Vunipola. Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, D Cole, C Lawes, M Wilson; W Heinz, P Francis, J Joseph.
IRELAND: R Kearney; J Larmour, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; R Byrne, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (capt), T Furlong, I Henderson, J Kleyn, P O'Mahony, J van der Flier, CJ Stander. Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, A Porter, D Toner, T Beirne; L McGrath, J Carty, A Conway.

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