Home » Sport

Joe Schmidt downplays talk of Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam hopes

26 February, 2018, 09:36 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Warren Gatland praised Ireland's style of play after his side's 37-27 loss in the Aviva Stadium

"I thought we helped them be exciting at times, which isn't something we're trying to do at all".

However, the 52-year-old New Zealander, who was speaking after the Irish had secured a bonus point win in a pulsating 37-27 win over Wales at Lansdowne Road, added that confidence is a "fickle friend".

Scotland produced a blistering display of attacking rugby to hand Eddie Jones just his second defeat as England head coach and end the visitors' Grand Slam aspirations with a 25-13 Six Nations victory at Murrayfield. They attempted to attack with very awkward passes along the line, which lacked any deception and creativity and often didn't cause Ireland, and many teams they have played in the past, any problems.

If Wales were using a rope-a-dope strategy, it worked perfectly.

Ireland turned round at the break with two-point lead.

Yet it wasn't just Sexton's kicking that made life hard for Ireland. Theirs were the ball-carriers - practically everyone in green took a turn - and theirs the pattern-weavers in midfield. The conversion saw Ireland carry a 15-13 lead into the break, a paltry return for such sizeable graft.

By that stage he had failed to convert a Jacob Stockdale try, Ireland's opening score of the worldwide, and had missed an earlier penalty kick a player of his quality would expect to score.

Ireland bullied Wales in the second half, depriving them of possession and pinning them in back in their own half. Sexton missed an opportunity to level from the tee soon after when he struck a post, but he made amends by playing a key role in an early Ireland try. "He and Johnny might well miss training on Tuesday but they will have well and truly earned it".

It was so long in coming because of the 10 unanswered points Wales registered between the two tries.

Schmidt and Gatland in conversation before the game
Schmidt and Gatland in conversation before the game

However, once again Ireland made a mess of the restart and when Wales won a penalty off a scrum, Cai Evans, son of Wales legend Ieuan, made it an 10-point game.

Cian Healy scored Ireland's next try when squeezing over on the blindside on 53 minutes, with Sexton unfortunately unable to convert this time, his effort going right and wide. They did not let up in the second half.

"Italy have definitely improved from a conditioning point of view and they stayed in the game against France for a while so we mustn't get too impatient".

With Jonathan Sexton having a rare off day with the boot, Ireland needed tries and they got enough of them to warrant a bonus point, with Jacob Stockdale (2), Bundee Aki, Dan Leavy and Cian Healy all crossing the whitewash.

All that tackling Wales had to do in the first half started to have an impact. Meanwhile, Wales welcomed back Lions backs Leigh Halfpenny, Dan Biggar, and Liam Williams.

Murray stood in for Sexton to kick a penalty and seemingly put the Irish out of sight at 30-20 with five minutes to go.

WALES: L Halfpenny; L Williams, S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans; D Biggar, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens, S Lee; C Hill, AW Jones (c); A Shingler, J Navidi, R Moriarty.

Now the fitness they are so proud of had a chance to showcase itself, Wales off in search of a fourth try and the unlikeliest of victories. It didn't matter as Ireland got the ball back straight away and Sexton threw at outrageous cut-out pass for Jacob Stockdale to score in the corner.

Ireland's large forward platform and strong set piece is a joy to watch as a neutral rugby fan as they can make it look so easy and are starting to gather momentum with it.

Recommended:



Popular

Nash officially traded to Boston, McDonagh rumors and Ratelle night tonight
Nash has had a bit of a down year for an underachieving Rangers group with 28 points (18 goals, 10 assists) in 60 games. Lindgren , a second-round pick in 2016, could sign his pro contract after finishing his sophomore season at Minnesota.

Gosling stuns Newcastle to snatch draw for Bournemouth
Bournemouth have now picked up 13 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season - a joint-high along with Everton.

Employer of Filipina maid 'found dead in freezer' arrested
Cayetano said he expects Kuwaiti authorities to request the extradition of Assaf so he could stand trial in Kuwait. Relatives said she never said anything bad about her employers, but they suspected she was being watched closely.

Dropbox files for IPO, seeks $500M funding
Former Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co CEO Meg Whitman, who joined Dropbox's board in September, received stock worth US$908,800. The filing also shows Dropbox has been bleeding money for years, but it's getting closer to becoming profitable.

Multiple attacks in Afghanistan leave many dead
The Taliban, fighting to drive out foreign troops and re-establish their form of strict Islamic law, claimed responsibility. The bomb was the latest in a spate of attacks in the capital in which hundreds of people have been killed and wounded.

Head of 'troll farm' controlled Russian mercenaries in Syria
Moscow and Washington coordinate their air and ground operations against the Islamic State (IS) group in this zone. And now, reports also claim he is the Putin ally who allegedly controls Russian mercenaries working in Syria .

Trump Questions Predecessor's Response to Russian Meddling
Facebook Inc said the company will start using postcards to verify potential ad buyers live in the US before selling campaign ads. On Tuesday, Trump's press secretary seemed to throw caution and coherence to the wind.

Broncos receive third-round compensatory draft pick in 2018
Compensatory picks were previously not allowed to be traded, until a rule change allowed dealing such picks starting in 2017. Arizona will not have a sixth-round pick, as they traded it to the New Orleans Saints last season for Adrian Peterson.

South Korea's Yun Sung-bin maintains lead in men's skeleton
Prior to the PyeongChang Games, only nine countries had won medals in skeleton, but Yun re-wrote history on Friday. Coincidently, his gold came on Lunar New Year's Day, and this could be Day One of his era.

Mayor: Driver crashed car into hospital, set himself on fire
On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Drew identified the suspect as 27-year-old Steven Ellam , of Middletown . Hospital authorities said the building managed some harm, yet that it wasn't huge.