Jump to main content


What A Pool To Be In – Schmidt

What A Pool To Be In – Schmidt

For newly-appointed Leinster coach Josef Schmidt, Wednesday’s draw for the pool stages of next season’s Heineken Cup had a good deal of irony in it.

Josef Schmidt is currently back home in his native New Zealand, tying up some loose ends before linking up with his new employers, Leinster, in the coming weeks.

Schmidt’s four-year tenure as backs coach with Clermont Auvergne ended on a high recently as the club lifted the Bouclier de Brennus as first-time French champions.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

But he will hope that his old club lose their winning touch next season, though, as Leinster have been drawn with Clermont Auvergne, Saracens and Racing-Metro 92 in Pool 2 for the 2010/11 Heineken Cup.

Of course, Leinster and Clermont locked horns in an epic quarter-final clash at the RDS in April, with Jamie Heaslip and Jonathan Sexton helping the home side to a nail-biting 29-28 win.

Giving his reaction to the draw from Down Under, Schmidt said: “What a pool to be in – Leinster reached the Magners League grand final, Clermont are the French champions, Saracens all but won the Guinness Premiership final and then there’s Racing-Metro 92, who Clermont only just beat 21-17 in the Top 14 play-offs.

“I’m not sure how these draws are made, but I just seem to get the hard ones.

” In my first season in the Heineken Cup, Clermont were drawn with Munster, London Wasps and a Scarlets side that had gone unbeaten through to the semi-finals the previous season.

“Then last season we had the Ospreys and Leicester Tigers to contend with. Now I find myself back in one of those ‘pools of death’ again.

“Leinster had London Irish (third in England), Brive (sixth in France) and the Scarlets (fifth in the Magners League) last season. Now look at what we’ve got!

“I would certainly have preferred to have missed the French champions, who left 26 points behind them on their last trip to Dublin and outscored Leinster by three tries to two.”

Schmidt is looking forward to teaming up with Leinster’s forwards coach Jono Gibbes whom he says is ‘one of the reasons Leinster have done well in the last few years.’

The exact make-up of the new Leinster coaching set-up will be revealed within the next fortnight, with big shoes to fill following the departures of defence coach Kurt McQuilkin, consultant coach Alan Gaffney and team manager Chris Whitaker.

Isaac Boss, Ed O’Donoghue and South African prop Heinke van der Merwe are confirmed signings on the playing front.

Clearly relishing the challenge presented by the Heineken Cup draw, Schmidt added: “It is going to be a great pool for the spectators and the tournament as a whole, but for the coaches it isn’t a friendly draw and it is going to be pretty tough.

” I obviously know the Clermont team very well and it will be nice to link up with them again – I just wish it hadn’t have been quite so quickly.”

As for Clermont, their team manager Neil McIlroy agreed that revenge is certain to be on the players’ minds when they meet Leinster home and away next season.

“One kick would have made all the difference when we played Leinster in the quarter-final and probably put us through to the semi-finals. We felt that if we had had a home draw, we would have gone through,” he said.

“But we still feel we laid down another marker in Europe last season and winning the French Championship will have done wonders for our confidence.

“We know Leinster, in particular, will present us with a huge challenge, but there are no easy matches in the pool.

“The games against Leinster will have extra interest and spice because Joe will be coaching them.”

Related Links –

Provinces Handed Tough Heineken Cup Pools