Paul O’Connell insists Ireland will ‘keep the faith’ with Joe Schmidt’s game plan

Joe Schmidt and Jonny Sexton
Joe Schmidt and Jonny Sexton

Paul O’Connell has pledged Ireland will “keep the faith” with boss Joe Schmidt’s game plan despite scoring just four tries in the RBS 6 Nations.

Captain O’Connell vowed the backing for Schmidt “will not waver” despite Ireland’s lack of tries blowing their Grand Slam tilt in last weekend’s 23-16 defeat in Wales.

Ireland can still retain their Six Nations title with victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, but must rely on bettering the points-difference tally of both England and Wales.

O’Connell accepted frustrations with Ireland’s try-scoring shortcomings, but still defended boss Schmidt’s tactics-based approach.

“We’ve probably been a little bit disappointed with that,” said O’Connell of Ireland’s lack of tries.

“Even the start of the English game, we were held up over the line twice early on.

“Credit to Wales last week for great defence, but we no doubt created a whole lot of opportunities where we were really close to scoring.

“I think for us there’s big trust in what we’re doing and that’s probably the biggest thing I see from a player point of view that’s different from other teams I’ve been involved in – there’s massive trust in what we’re doing.

“And that trust won’t waver, and we know that at times when we’ve beaten France this year and beaten England this year, we’ve been delighted with the victories but disappointed that a few small elements of our game that have led us to not scoring tries and taking opportunities like we have in the past.

“And with that trust we’ll keep the faith and hopefully it will come right.”