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'It was like I had a little Joe Schmidt on my right shoulder yelling at me': Mike Ross on his former gaffer

Former Ireland and Leinster prop Mike Ross was a guest on the latest episode of the Heineken Rugby Weekly.

Image: Dan Sheridan; ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan/INPHO

FROM THE 61 caps he won for his country, Mike Ross racked up over half of them under Joe Schmidt’s stewardship.

He knows a thing or two about the Ireland coach’s way of doing things and shared some insight on the latest episode of Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42. 

Asked about the influence Schmidt had on his career, the ex-prop praised the Kiwi’s man-management in particular.

“Joe’s a guy who will look at you, look at your strengths and look at your weaknesses, and look at how to magnify your strengths and minimize your weaknesses,” said the Cork native who announced his retirement in April last year.

“He puts you as part of a team. ‘Mike Ross, maybe he’s not the fastest but there’s plenty of lads who are fast, so we can work on Mike’s strengths which are scrummaging and hitting rucks.’ Joe often develops a team that’s more than the sum of its parts.”

Earlier this year, Jonathan Sexton was quizzed about Schmidt’s attention to detail and the highly-structured environment he commands.

“At times you are driven demented with him, but you know he is doing it for a reason – putting pressure on you in training, at meetings to make sure on Saturday every box is ticked.”

Commenting on Schmidt’s reputation, Ross said that there are no mixed messages and players have a clear idea of what’s expected of them.

“Once you realise what he expects, he’s consistent with what he does, so you can’t really ask for much more in a coach. You knew if you messed up a play that he was coming for you. When I was playing the last few years, it was like I had a little Joe Schmidt on my right shoulder yelling at me, mentally, so that if I messed up a clear-out, I could hear him yelling at me. I’d know that’s going to be on the video, or a missed tackle, that’s going to be on the video. It’s like your little conscience whispering in your ear – or yelling, should I say.

You can listen to the full interview with Mike Ross below: 


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Eoin O'Callaghan

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