Joe Schmidt plays down Jack McGrath incident
Possible citing for Ireland prop an issue after narrow defeat to the Barbarians
Barbarians’ Wynand Oliver and Gerhard Vosloo tackle Ireland’s Colm O’Shea during the friendly match at Thomond Park.
Joe Schmidt admitted any prospective citing against Jack McGrath for his 32nd minute knee into the back of the Barbarians’ Georgian lock Konstantin Mikautadze was out of the Irish management’s hands, and although he played down the decision not to bring McGrath back on, that seemed significant.
“I saw the long distance replay and it was pretty hard to see. I thought they were looking at Ian Madigan, ” he said in reference to the outhalf’s raking of Mikautadze a moment or two before. “So I was looking at that, not anything that Jack did.
“I haven’t a good look at it, but it obviously warranted a yellow card. I guess whatever happens is out of our hands. I will obviously try to get a look at it when I get back to the team hotel tonight.”
Schmidt admitted that the decision to leave Michael Bent on for the remainder of the match was “partially” because McGrath had been yellow carded “and partially because we wanted to give Michael Bent a decent run. There were a lot of guys we knew a fair bit about already,” he said, pointing to the fact that McGrath had started four of the five games in the Six Nations.
Asked what disappointed him most about the Irish performance, Schmidt highlighted Ireland’s lack of accuracy and their work at the breakdown. Was it possible to draw any conclusions regarding his World Cup squad in the circumstances?
“It’s a little bit difficult but you can still get a little bit of an idea of who coped in the situations that arose. The scrum was a bit of a frustration because I thought Tadhg Furlong was shaping pretty well in there and I think in the end the referee lost patience as well. But that was disappointing because we actually wanted to play and we wanted to play pretty well.”
The Irish coach was notably more effusive about some of the Baabaas’ stand-out performers than his own. “I think we got a little bit of an opportunity to look at a few guys who maybe hadn’t played at this level before, and how they adjusted themselves against players of the ability they probably hadn’t faced too often either.
“I thought some of their players looked at the very top of their game despite them being towards the end of their careers. I thought George Smith was incredibly good of the bench. Deon Fourie and good old Jeno (Shane Jennings) gave us a hard time on the ground, so it meant that players learned how tough it is to hang onto the ball.”
In an indirect criticism of Ireland’s kicking from hand, Schmidt added: “Then we gave it to them in a fair bit of space we learned a bit about good players ability to keep the ball and attack back with it, the likes of Gio Aplon, Joe Rokocoko and Alex Cuthbert had a bit of time and space on occasion. I think David Smith was a handful as well. You could go through a fair handful them.”