Joe Schmidt: Rob Herring lauds ‘incredible Joe’

Ireland's Rob Herring in action against USA
Ireland's Rob Herring in action against USA

As a head coach Ireland’s Joe Schmidt was right up there with the best said Irish hooker Rob Herring.

The Irish supremo confirmed this week that he would stand now from the top job in Dublin after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The IRFU also confirmed that current defence coach, Andy Farrell, would take over the position.

The 53-year-old Schmidt was appointed in 2013 and has overseen the most successful period in Ireland’s history.

Ireland have won three Six Nations titles during his reign, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and have risen to number two spot in the world rankings.

Herring, who is challenging Sean Cronin and Niall Scannell for the number two hooker position behind Rory Best in Ireland, returned to the Ulster fold this week following a clean sweep of Test victories in November for the men in green.

Herring came off the bench in Saturday’s 57-14 win over USA to earn his seventh cap.

In respect of Schmidt’s decision Herring said: “Joe has been a great coach, the way he gets things out of his players, gets what’s he wants out of the players.

“I haven’t seen anything like it before. He said it himself, that there is a big 10 months coming up.

“What he has contributed to Irish rugby has been incredible.”

It is well documented that Schmidt was a workaholic around international periods and no stone was left unturned in preparing every player for what lay ahead.

Confirming that Herring added: “Probably his attention to detail is second to none is second to none. He expects everything to be exactly spot on. That’s the environment he has brought to Ireland.

“Like when I came in for the Six Nations and the autumn internationals and he singled me out in the meetings and said the rest of the squad are waiting on me to catch up!

“He was like that with every player, and has the expectation that everyone knows what they are doing and they can fit in like a cog in a wheel and fit into the team environment and to make things better for other players.”

As for his thoughts on Farrell’s appointment after the World Cup, Herring added: “He’s a great defence coach.

“You can see the accolades that he has achieved as a defence coach speaks for itself, and the way he has the boys defending has taken us to a new level.

“He is a great guy as well, and he’s the right man for the job when Joe leaves.”

Herring believes Schmidt has created a good culture in Irish rugby in Irish rugby for the next head coach

“There are definitely things that he has embedded into that side now, just the small habits, they everyone talks about, I don’t think they will disappear when he leaves.

“So in terms of a legacy, that will be going on for a long time.”

Meanwhile, former British Lion, Ireland and Ulster player, Jared Payne, now a defence coach with the Province, also lauded Schmidt’s coaching style.

“What he wants he gets that across and has an amazing eye for detail and keeps you honest as a player and he’s a nice guy too,” said Payne.

“He was also intense and that got the best out of you. I’ve probably annoyed him once or twice by being too relaxed with him,” smiled Payne.

Payne would also have worked with Farrell in the Lions set-up and the pair would discuss defence issues in their roles within club and country currently.

“He’s a bit different to Joe in some aspects but I think he’ll have learnt a lot off Joe and he’s going to put his own slant on it though.

“ I’m not sure exactly what he’ll bring just being a defence coach,” he added.