Jump to main content



Victorious Coach Schmidt Delighted With ‘End Result’

Victorious Coach Schmidt Delighted With ‘End Result’

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said he endured a nervous final few minutes as his side hung on to beat France in Paris.

* The victorious Ireland squad and management will arrive home with the Six Nations trophy in Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport at approximately 2.30pm today.

Ireland claimed a 22-20 victory that saw them win the Six Nations title – but only after holding out under some intense pressure late on.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

“Yeah, I was pretty worried,” admitted Joe Schmidt afterwards. “It was evident that the scrum was turning very quickly and we didn’t get the platform that we needed to actually clear our line. And that made it very difficult.

“I felt that we had the right strategy toward the end of the game. We drove a lineout and maybe got a little unlucky there.

“Then when we played the ruck away from it, we got penalised. That allowed them to then get down close enough to the line to really start putting the pressure on. But I thought our defence held well.”

Victorious captain Paul O’Connell said he believed Ireland should have closed out the game better but Schmidt felt it was always going to be a close encounter.

“I thought France turned up tonight and played a fantastic game. To be fair to Paul and the players, while he might have been disappointed with the last 10 minutes, I just think that when you’ve two high-level teams playing at each other something’s going to give at some stage.

“For it not to have given, for us to have held in – albeit with a forward pass towards the end – I’m just delighted with the end result.”

The dramatic end was a perfect finish to Brian O’Driscoll’s international career and Schmidt said he would miss working alongside a player he first coached at Leinster.

“I’ve worked with Brian for four years now and he’s a man I respect immensely. He’s a player that I really enjoy coaching.

“I think he’s been quietly grooming a couple of guys to come in. I don’t think they’ll suddenly fill his shoes…we’ll have to put in someone who’s got slightly smaller feet but hopefully they can grow into them.”

Schmidt also said that in the lead up to the game the squad had not been focused on the fact that it would be O’Driscoll’s 133rd and final appearance for Ireland.

“Obviously there was a fantastic ovation at the end of the match last week in Dublin. This week we did nothing. I mentioned him pre-game once and apart from that it wasn’t mentioned at all during the week,” he explained.

“I think the team were very conscious of it and it didn’t really demand mentioning. They were very conscious that it would be his last game and they wanted to make sure that it would be special for him. And I think they achieved that.”