Schmidt after naming his starting team at Carton House Tommy Dickson/INPHO
logistical nightmare

Two years on, Edinburgh bus debacle still a sore spot for Schmidt

‘It’s an incredibly simple route from The Balmoral to Murrayfield. How the policemen got lost will forever be a bit of a mystery for us.’

“I DID LAUGH last time, before the match,” says Joe Schmidt.

He certainly didn’t derive much post-match humour from the infamous delayed bus trip for the 27-22 loss to Scotland which kicked off the 2017 Six Nations.

“We arrived at the stadium 10 or 15 minutes late and we were late for most things in the first half,” said the head coach after his side paid the price for slipping to a 21-8 deficit on their last visit to Murrayfield.

Two years later, the specifics still appear irksome. Even if the Kiwi recounted the tale and a conversation with his former Clermont colleague Vern Cotter with a smile after naming his team go in search of a win.

“I remember saying to (then Scotland coach) Vern Cotter: ‘did you organise that?’

Did you organise that, (arrival) 46 minutes before kick-off?’ He said: ’46? I told them 30 minutes’. So I didn’t get a lot of change from him.”

Joke delivered, it was back to brass tacks and rugby’s great logistical mystery of 2017.

“It’s an incredibly simple route from The Balmoral to Murrayfield. How the policemen got lost will forever be a bit of a mystery for us.”

Of course, the incident only remains in anybody’s memory because it preceded an Ireland loss. A delayed arrival does not automatically mean a slow start. Ireland were well able to overcome the hurdle of a 13-minute trip becoming a 30-minute journey due to Sydney traffic before the third Test win over the Wallabies last summer.

“I can’t remember,” Tadhg Furlong said this week when asked if he and the squad had been aware they were running late for the Six Nations opener in 2017.

“You probably tend to be in your own little zone on the bus. I actually don’t know.

“We were in the dressing room and we were pretty much in and out. We were out to warm up…

“It’s no excuse either, you have to expect the unexpected. What can you do? You have to get on with it. It’s hard to say if it affected us or not. But we definitely started slowly.”

Following a tough Six Nations opening defeat to England, Joe Schmidt will look to regroup against a dangerous Scotland side. This week, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey are joined by Bernard Jackman to assess the damage of last weekend and look ahead to the clash in Murrayfield:

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