Dublin: 14°C Friday 27 May 2022

Schmidt's Ireland ready to weather the Scottish storm at Murrayfield

Captain Rory Best said Ireland will tailor their game plan accordingly to deal with the high wind in Edinburgh.

IRELAND WILL HOPE to channel the lingering hurt and anger from last weekend into a much-improved performance against Scotland at Murrayfield tomorrow afternoon, as Joe Schmidt’s side bid to avoid back-to-back Six Nations defeats for the first time in three years.

The defending Grand Slam champions completed their preparations for Saturday’s round two clash in Edinburgh this morning, at the end of a difficult week for Schmidt and his players.

Rory Best Rory Best speaks to his team-mates after today's captain's run. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

With the benefit of hindsight, captain Rory Best admits the dressing room was uncharacteristically quiet in the build-up to last Saturday’s humbling home loss to England, but keen to learn from their mistakes, there has been a greater intensity and edge in preparations for Scotland.

Ireland know their Six Nations title defence now hangs in the balance in the Scottish capital.

“We were very disappointed with the result and parts of the performance last week,” Best said at Murrayfield this afternoon. “We’ve worked very hard on looking at how we can improve and how we need to improve because we’ve looked at the Scots and how dangerous they are.

“Look, we’re going to have to produce something significantly better than last week. But that’s always the goal for us and we fell down last week but it doesn’t mean we throw everything out and attempt to start again.

“We’ve built a lot of things over the last number of years and it’s times like this where you have to stick to what you know. You just ask a little bit more individually from the players to produce something collectively with a few players coming in who didn’t play last week.

“They’ll be looking to make a point that they should have been involved last week. We have to make sure we get our things right because if we produce something similar, the Scots are a great team and they’ve shown us that as recently here as two years ago.” 

Asked specifically about last weekend’s no-show against Eddie Jones’ side, Best admitted Ireland were guilty of making mistakes during the warm-up, and that filtered into their performance.

“You can pick on a couple of things in hindsight,” the Ulster hooker continued. “Sometimes you get so fixated with making sure that you know where to go that you become a little hesitant.

“You sensed it more before the game than the Friday. Friday is a strange day, there’s a little bit of lightheartedness, a bit of training, a bit of giddiness so close to a big game. It’s hard to read into that. Joe probably has a better handle of that.

“Before the game I thought we were quite quiet. We’re a relatively quiet bunch anyway bar a couple. Peter (O’Mahony), Johnny (Sexton) and myself are that bit more vocal.


Get closer to the stories that matter with exclusive analysis, insight and debate in The42 Membership.

Become a Member

Rory Best Best speaking at this afternoon's press conference. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“So you don’t always read into the quietness, but the fact looking back now, I felt we were a little bit hesitant in the warm-up, we made a few mistakes in the warm-up, and that wasn’t like us. We didn’t get the same buzz that we normally generate in warm-ups.”

You can be sure Ireland won’t endure another false start tomorrow afternoon, with a big response expected from Schmidt’s side. 

Best added: “There’s a lot of frustration in the camp after last week and it was a bit around the way we were perceived to be bullied, but it was probably mostly around our accuracy.

“We felt that to get into the game we need to be accurate, that sort of comes hand in hand with physicality for us because it allows us to get phases, it allows us to get carries, it allows us to get ruck cleans — it gets us out of our own half and it allows us to attack a bit more in defence.

“So the accuracy last week was the thing we felt let us down the most and that’s what made the review tough, but they’re always tough with Joe anyway.

But they were tough this week and the good thing is it’s a seven-day turnaround to go again, and it wasn’t one of the fallow weeks that you have to wait two weeks.

Ireland got a taste of the stormy conditions they expect to face come kick-off on Saturday afternoon during the captain’s run earlier, with rain and strong winds forecast for Edinburgh. Best says they will tailor their game-plan accordingly.

“I think it’s due to be quite windy so we’ll tailor our game plan accordingly and we’ll try to play the conditions as best we can. I’d imagine Scotland will be taking a look at that as well.

“Being out here today, it’s good to get a run out and get a feel for it, how the pass comes to you when you’re catching it and those bits and pieces.

“But ultimately, we have a game plan and we might tailor it a little bit over the next 24 hours but the weather conditions are going to be the same for both teams. We have to make sure we look after all of our bits and pieces to make sure we’re in this game.”

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:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here:

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel