Schmidt vows to 'enjoy the moment, take a deep breath' and pour cold water on Grand Slam talk

‘Control is fickle’, says the Ireland coach after his team took over at the top of the Six Nations Championship.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

JOE SCHMIDT SHOULDN’T need to tell Irish people that Grand Slams don’t come around very often.

Yet, with excitement growing around the nation after a convincing 19 – 9 win over England today, he did just that when the dust had settled in the Aviva Stadium.

After laughing off the pressure Brian O’Driscoll had piled on the squad by tweeting about a Grand Slam two weeks ago, Schmidt moved to bolt the feet of players and supporters alike firmly on the ground.

“I think we decided we’d park everything for 24 hours, get a bit of recovery and then try to springboard ourselves forward. We’re up in Belfast for a camp and that’s where we’ll start to look ahead.

Probably for once, I’m just going to enjoy the moment and take a deep breath.

Ireland ended a four-game losing streak against England by carving out a convincing 19 – 9 win to move top of the Six Nations table with three wins from three outings this year.

Though Schmidt is of course satisfied by the position his team have worked their way in to, he is keen to point to the threat still posed by Wales in tn what could yet prove to be a nail-biting scrap for the title.

“Control is fickle,” the Kiwi exhaled, “it’s nice to be in the position we’re in without a doubt.

“Even our points differential is aided by a 10 [winning margin]. Because  it’s a 20-point swing with England which is potentially really important considering they’ve got two home games and could accumulate a few points, but also they could put a bit of pressure on if we do slip up in either of the next two games. Then that points differential could be important.

“Because Grand Slams don’t happen that often, it’s pretty hard to get them. It’s going to be pretty hard in the Millennium [Stadium]. Wales got themselves back into the Championship – the last time they won the Championship, they lost the first game and then went through and won the Championship and they’re no doubt eyeing up doing something similar this year.”

All Irish rugby roads lead to Cardiff on March 14, but the hosts will be intent on hijacking any premature party plans.

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Sean Farrell

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