Joe Schmidt praises his ‘ordinary men’ for ‘exceptional deeds’

Emotional Ireland head coach credits players as third Grand Slam secured

Ireland’s players celebrate their Grand Slam and Triple Crown success after the win over England at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland’s players celebrate their Grand Slam and Triple Crown success after the win over England at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt praised his group of “ordinary men” after a brilliant 24-15 win over England secured just a third Grand Slam in the nations’s history.

Asked by TV3’s Sineád Kissane what makes this group of players special, an emotional Schmidt said: “The earthiness of them. We had Christy Moore in on Monday and he was fantastic. And he sang Ordinary Man at one stage. They are ordinary men who are an extraordinary team who delivered exceptional deeds.”

Looking back over an epic 80 minutes of action at Twickenham, Schmidt pointed to the workrate of his side both with and without the ball.

“They made it so difficult for England to win today, I thought we showed a fantastic mix of class, I thought we opened them up a few times with some very clever stuff that they executed so well and at the same time made some 50-50 ball into our own.

“And at the other end we had to withstand some immense English pressure – a desperate team looking to make sure they got the result. I don’t know what the tackle counts were but we had to work incredibly hard.”

Asked to single out any particular highlights for him personally, Schmidt first pointed to some of his senior players

“That Rory Best started a game, that he deserved . . . got the reward, he’s led incredibly well. Johnny Sexton got the Grand Slam that he’s been craving. It’s a fantastic day for those senior guys. I think the young guys, they think you can get one of those – you know you’ve just got to work really hard and they’ll pop up. But they don’t: they know that so it’s fantastic day for them.

Looking at the work of his pack, Schmidt continued: “ From Pete O’Mahony’s leadership, I though he was immense ; CJ in the backrow; and young Dan Leavy, he’s found a slot for himself that he doesn’t want to give up either. It was fantastic for Dev Toner to get on there after what he’s contributed over the last few years.

“And for young guys, you know the backline at the end, you had Joey Carbery to Jordan Larmour, to Garry Ringrose, with on the wings Kieran Marmion and Jacob Stockdale, another kid you know. They’ll learn from the experience, I think they found it pretty tough going toward the end there but they didn’t give it up easily.”

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