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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 25 May, 2020

Schmidt disappointed by Ireland's breakdown effort as Baa-Baas win

‘We got a little bit of an opportunity to look at guys at a level they haven’t played at before.’

JOE SCHMIDT ADMITTED to disappointment at Ireland’s breakdown efforts and general accuracy during the 22-21 defeat to the Barbarians at Thomond Park, though he was understandably not too downcast.

The Kiwi head coach will move on with his World Cup preparations feeling he learned something of a handful of his less experienced players, many of whom might feel they missed an opportunity to lay down a marker ahead of September.

Dave Kearney after the game Ireland's players exit the Thomond Park turf after defeat. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Probably a bit of our accuracy and how many times we were turned over on the ground,” said Schmidt when asked what had disappointed him about Ireland’s display.

“I think one of the things that we did achieve during the last two Six Nations was that we were probably turned over less than any other team, whereas Deon Fourie and wise old Jenno [Shane Jennings] managed to get us once or twice, then George Smith came off the bench and did well.

[Gerhard] Vosloo got on the ball really well as well, they actually had some real quality about their back row. I think that was a really good learning experience for some of the players who were new in today.

“They just found out how difficult it is in that breakdown area to survive when there’s real quality about sniffing out turnovers.”

There was a sense in the build-up to this meeting that a Barbarians meeting would not be the ideal place to judge players, but the ferocity of Robbie Deans’ side in the tackle and with ball in hand did dispel the notion somewhat.

Schmidt admitted that it would be hard to assess players on the basis of what was often a very loose game, and also suggested that Ireland had intended to play more ambitiously from the set-piece than proved the case in Limerick.

Joe Schmidt with Paddy Jackson Schmidt with out-half Paddy Jackson before kick-off. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s a little bit difficult but you can still get a little bit of an idea of who coped in the situations that arose,” said Schmidt. “I think probably the scrum was a bit of a frustration because I thought Tadhg Furlong was shaping pretty well in there and I think in the end the referee lost patience as well.

But that was disappointing because we actually wanted the ball in play and we wanted to play openly as well.

“We got a little bit of an opportunity to look at guys at a level they haven’t played at before and how they adjusted themselves of some players of the ability they haven’t faced too often either.”

Henry, Strauss and Gilroy emerge from Barbarians defeat with credit

Schmidt’s Ireland lose out to entertaining Barbarians in Limerick

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Murray Kinsella

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