Performance trumps results in autumn series, says Reddan

Irish scrumhalf emphasises scale of challenge provided by Samoa

Ireland scrumhalf Eoin Reddan is happy with the plans new coach Joe Schmidt has in place for the forthcoming autumn internationals. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland scrumhalf Eoin Reddan is happy with the plans new coach Joe Schmidt has in place for the forthcoming autumn internationals. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Drawing on the experience of his three years under Joe Schmidt at Leinster, Eoin Reddan yesterday articulately expressed the view that the upcoming three-match opening salvo under the new Irish coach should be judged more by performances than results.

Schmidt’s Leinster tenure began, in 2010-11, with three defeats in their opening four games, albeit all of them were away and without the province’s front-line Test players. By the end of that season, Leinster won the first of back-to-back Heineken Cups and reached the first of successive League finals.

“To be honest the people at Leinster were very happy throughout those times because we knew we were getting better and the things he wanted us to get better at, we did,” recalled Reddan of those initial four games.

“There is a level of trust there, not just because we know him [Schmidt] now but back then if you have a sense of purpose for what you’re at then the results will follow.

“We’ve got three tough games and to put it all on results would be silly, because I think we’re in a good position because we’ve given ourselves the best chance of succeeding this autumn.

“What I mean by succeeding is getting better every week and finishing the autumn better than what we started it. I think we have a very good coaching team in place, a very good squad, our strength and conditioning programme is excellent so from a player point of view you come to training thinking that if you’re being left out of the squads now there’s a serious worry that Ireland are going to go places in the next 12 to 24 months.”


Sizeable difference
The non-Leinster players have all, according to Reddan, enjoyed their initial high intensity, mentally-demanding training sessions under Schmidt, but said there was a sizeable difference between the perception of the task provided by Samoa this Saturday within the squad and from the outside.

“We’re trying to manage expectations because there is a huge swell of ‘Ireland are going to go out and throw the ball around’ but we’re going up against a team that are very physical, that get off the line very, very hard, put teams under pressure and don’t really defend the kick space too much. So how do you go out and play that game everyone expects you to play when it doesn’t suit the opposition you’re going up against?


‘All-out attack’
“Samoa scored after a minute and 52 seconds last year against Wales. There was no doubt about what they had come to do. From the kick-off, they turned the ball over and just had all-out attack for two minutes and scored in the corner. That is what we’re going to be up against this week. They’re going to come out very strong, fast and we’ll have to do the same.

“They’ve got great feet; very, very good off-load and a lot of very explosive ball carriers,” added Reddan, citing the need for accuracy at the breakdown, with straight running to allow more effective clearing out and, in turn, put more pace on the game.

Reddan is in a familiar three-way battle for the scrum-half slot along with Conor Murray and Isaac Boss, and says: “With Joe, as usual, you can’t really tell. It’s very hard to tell anything at the moment so far. I genuinely mean that.

“You could be watching from the stand on Saturday, or you could be in the number 9 shirt, and that applies to all three of us.”

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