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Schmidt's Ireland confident white line fever will be remedied against Scotland

Assistant coach Simon Easterby says ‘we’re backing the players to make the right calls at the right time.’

IRELAND ARE BACKING themselves to be more clinical in the opposition 22 as they prepare for a final day Six Nations showdown with Scotland in Murrayfield.

Dan Lydiate and Sam Warburton tackle Sean O'Brien Sean O'Brien gets cut down by Dan Lydiate and Sam Warburton. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

One of the most notable issues in Ireland’s defeat to Wales last weekend was their inability to turn long periods of possession inside the home side’s 22 into tries.

While the phenomenal effort of Shaun Edward’s defence played a major role in the lack of penetration close to the tryline, it’s an area where Ireland will need to be greatly improved if they are to make a positive impact on their points difference before England face France later on Saturday.

“We’re backing the players to make the right calls at the right time,” says Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby. “All the players are comfortable enough to catch and pass and make good decisions; that’s the bottom line.

“The players will always be backed to make decisions and more often than not they are the right ones. They are more than capable of producing the right things at the right time and sometimes under a bit of pressure. When the opposition are making it awkward to do certain things, you are going to come up with a few errors.

It’s not for lack of quality or not having the players who can see those things. You have to make sure that you make the right decisions at the right time, and we’ll back them as coaches to do so.”

Perhaps the most glaring of Ireland’s missed opportunities against Warren Gatland’s side was the overlap wide on the right just before Cian Healy knocked the ball on over the Welsh tryline.

Joe Schmidt’s side trailed 20-9 at that point in the 66th minute, and while it seems likely that they may create more try-scoring opportunities against Scotland, it’s not a miss you see too often from the likes of the All Blacks.

Ireland have aspirations of being the best in the world, and in that regard such opportunities must be seized.

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Joe Schmidt Joe Schmidt jogs to Ireland training in Carton House yesterday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I think every moment is individual, as is the build up to certain scenarios and situations, which on the weekend we didn’t necessarily always get right,” says Easterby. “It is one decision of many in a game and sometimes you make the right one, sometimes you don’t.

“That’s the pressure at this level. That is what playing international Test rugby is; it’s a test and at the weekend it was certainly a Test match.

“In many aspects and facets of the game it was a test, so we failed on a few of those tests and we’ve got to make sure we get those things right this weekend in Murrayfield.

It will be no different if we give the Scots the type of momentum that we gave Wales, playing at home, we could make it a long and difficult afternoon for ourselves.”

Easterby confirmed that Ireland have submitted their report on last weekend’s referee Wayne Barnes to Joël Jutge, who oversees the Six Nations match officials.

Schmidt’s set-up are “are still awaiting some clarification on a couple of decisions,” most notably the final scrum penalty call against Ireland, which came from assistant referee Federico Anselmi.

“I would like to know myself why certain decisions were given,” says Easterby, “but we prepared really well at the weekend I thought, especially preparing for the guys in the middle and we do that every week.

“Hopefully we get the chance to get some feedback and we do that regardless of the result. We do that every time and we will have to wait to see what comes back from them following our review of the game.”

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Murray Kinsella

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