irish will not chase scotland: schmidt

Andrew Porter, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best, Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien
Andrew Porter, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best, Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien
Share this article

Defending champions Ireland will not be chasing the Six Nations Championship or Scotland this weekend in spite of being put on the back foot after an opening round defeat to England in Dublin.

Going to Edinburgh to get things back on track the notion that Ireland will unleash fire and fury at Murrayfield was quickly countered by head coach Joe Schmidt at yesterday’s pre-match media briefing.

“We have tried not to change things, from a mental approach,” he said.

“The last thing you want to do is to try and chase a Championship. Going to Scotland against such a tough team.

“We have to build our way into the game. We can’t be chasing things and try to get instant results.

You’ve got to earn whatever you get out there. Because they give so little away and they work so hard for each other.

“I’d be really proud of the way they work if I was Gregor (Townsend) and I’m sure he is.

“So, for us, it doesn’t change the mentality too much.

“We just want to take it one game at a time. We’re not going to chase a tournament when we got such a tough task in front of us.”

One thing Schmidt has noticed a change in is the energy levels of the players.

Against England Ireland appeared to lack the bite needed in big encounters - especially in comparison to the way they went out and took on New Zealand last November in the historic win in Dublin.

Schmidt said: “Yeah, there has been a better edge. I do think we had a few tired bodies coming in, we had a few guys who hadn’t played a lot. It is hard to suddenly hit the ground running.

“Conor (Murray) and Johnny (Sexton) haven’t played together since Australia and hadn’t played a lot full stop.

“Conor coming back and Johnny not having played since the Munster game.

“There’s no way we want to volunteer any excuses because there are none.

“You’ve got to get out and you’ve got to play well in your first game. We hadn’t lost at home in over five years in the Six Nations, and that hurt for sure.

“There weren’t too many guys who slept well on Saturday night, it probably took us, really until today to really get a spring back in our step and really get hungry because we can’t pass up a second opportunity to get our best foot forward,” he added.

Scumhalf Murray said the Irish certainly had something to prove this weekend after the 32-30 loss to England at home last week.

“I think we don’t become a bad team overnight and I think we’re very realistic in that we’re disappointed as players with how we went last week.

“This is a chance, not to make amends for it but start going in the right direction. Going to Scotland, like Joe said, can’t chase the game, we’re just looking for a performance.

“Definitely, a better start than we made last week and build into the game and not make the mistakes or inaccuracies that we did last week.

“We know we can get to that level, it’s been a good week of prep and we’re quite hungry to get there.”