Joe Schmidt wanted Ireland v S...

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Joe Schmidt wanted Ireland v Samoa RWC game aborted due to pitch


Joe Schmidt requested that Ireland's Rugby World Cup pool game against Samoa be cut short due to the state of the pitch.

This is one of a series of revelations from the Kiwi coach's book Ordinary Joe, released today, some of these insights are reported in the Irish Times.

The cancellation request fell on the deaf ears of the referee Nic Berry and Ireland won the game with a bonus point 47-5.

Referees are frequently referenced and a few whistleblowers are singled out in Ordinary Joe, including Nigel Owens' performance in the France game during the 2018 Six Nations.

Schmidt does say he was "disappointed" with himself for making public World Rugby admitting to him in confidence that officials had made mistakes.

Diary

The book is a self-penned diary, that reads in relatively chronological order, right up to the end of the World Cup in Japan.

The final post in Ordinary Joe is one of reflection after the Rugby World Cup final from New Zealand.

Schmidt writes: “We didn’t prioritise this year’s Six Nations I think that was a mistake.

"It doesn’t mean that we didn’t prepare and focus on each game, but we had a longer-term priority and I think that it diluted the rhythm that we’d built over the previous five years.

"What we were good at was building towards and committing to the habits that helped us to be accurate and connected on the pitch.”

World Cups are “very difficult to predict and just as difficult to prepare for”.

“Our performances did not have the consistency of 2018; our levels of accuracy and cohesion fluctuated from game to game, and during games.

"On reflection, I don’t believe that you can afford to taper and peak: you have to be building all the time, and that is done training by training, and performance by performance.”

 Schmidt’s mused after another Ireland quarter-final exit: “that the margins are very fine and repeatability of performance is key in any competition”.

“Our level of performance slipped as we started to look too far ahead, and we couldn’t just step back on to the pitch and play with the same level of accuracy, cohesion and confidence.

"I think the players will build from the defeat to a very good All Blacks team. But when looking more broadly at the RWC, I think there’s a danger in becoming too focused on delivering one-off performances at the end of four-year cycles; that it is more about having a growth mindset on a weekly basis to improve player capability, build team cohesion and strengthen the squad’s identity.”

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