The Offload: Would ‘workaholic’ Schmidt return to Ireland?

Cheika spills the beans; Johnny Sexton a worthy winner of the biggest of awards

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt works with his team before the Guinness Series clash with the USA. Photo: Brian Keane/Inpho

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt works with his team before the Guinness Series clash with the USA. Photo: Brian Keane/Inpho

 

“I guess I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to working.”

No awards for guessing that’s Joe Schmidt, unprompted, on the theme of workaholism; stated during typical filibustering by the Ireland coach when asked where his future lies after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“I tend to be a little bit of a workaholic ... and that means that I’m out of the house a fair bit or even at home I’m plugging away, looking at things with a microscope, so that’s probably a character flaw. If you probably talk to some of the people on the staff, it’s one of many I have. Hopefully they don’t disclose all the other ones.”

Somebody is bound to take the pay cheque for a ghost written book about life inside Carton House these past six seasons. Schmidt should get out in front of them with his own memoir - Chapter 1: ‘From Soldier Field to Yokohama.’ 100,000 words should cover volume one.

There’ll be plenty more chapters before volume two is penned. Schmidt may disappear behind the corporate pay wall but the 53-year-old will eventually be compelled back into the light, either by his imminent trip home to New Zealand, coinciding with All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen’s update on his future, or a lucrative gig in Europe.

Surely, the British and Irish Lions are on high alert. Schmidt would only take the Lions almost impossibly condensed tour to South Africa in 2021 with complete control. Two years of covert camps might be enough time to transform Scots, Welsh and English into JoeBots, with a fairytale finale to the symbiotic Schmidt and Johnny Sexton relationship which has delivered ground breaking success since the Millennium stadium miracle of 2011.

Schmidt to coach Ireland at the 2031 World Cup in the Pacific Islands?

There is precedent now in Irish sport.

Word of mouth

“All Blacks players will show their support for former Wales captain Gareth Thomas by wearing rainbow laces in their match against Italy tomorrow. #rainbowlaces #pride” – The All Blacks tweet their backing of Gareth Thomas.

By the numbers

650: That’s the number of kilometres in the round trip from Dublin to Cork undertaken by the Sexton clan to say farewell to the O’Gara clan – “on a day he should be kicking” – before they set sail for New Zealand.

Cheika spills the beans

Maybe this is a mini revolution by referees. Maybe too much heat has been placed on them to solve the collision zone in rugby. Either way, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika spilled the beans after Owen Farrell’s no arms tackle on Izack Rodda went unchecked by officials at

Twickenham: “I went to the referees meeting in the first week [of November] and they referred back to the Owen Farrell tackle against South Africa and they left [Australian referee] Angus Gardner hanging out to dry by saying ‘that should have been a penalty’ in front of all the coaches. If that was a penalty this is three penalties.” Simple arithmetic.

Tweet of the weekend

This one belongs to the giant Montpellier wing Nemdani Nadolo following Fiji’s 21-14 defeat of France. “Can’t hold back my tears. The lads who played tonight for Fiji, for next to nothing against a team full of riches and win is something we as ‘tier 2 nation’ can dream of. Yes, politics and other nonsense affect us but you put 23 passionate village kids together, we can conquer the world.” When pointed out Fiji are now ranked above France and therefore not Tier 2, Nadolo replied: “Money brooooo. [French] players get up to €10,000 a week. Plus your national team has resources that has access to the “high tech” shit to make a team the best team. My team on the other hand gets €200 a week and a few tackle shields.”

Sexton a worthy winner

So, Johnny Sexton’s name gets carved into history alongside the inaugural winner Keith Wood – the only pair of Irishmen to be named world player of the year. It was never in doubt. Not after 2009 when Brian O’Driscoll – a judge in Monte Carlo – topped the try scoring count in Europe for Leinster and the Six Nations while guiding one to European and the other Grand Slam glory in what remains his greatest ever season. O’Driscoll threw in a phenomenal Lions tour, until knocking himself out with a ridiculous tackle that badly concussed Springbok flanker Danie Rossouw in the second Test.

The ‘09 winner was eight-time nominee Richie McCaw.

Sexton’s flawless year, which ended with a physically impressive showing to defeat Beauden Barrett’s All Blacks, was enough to convince McCaw, John Smit, George Gregan, Maggie Alphonsi, Clive Woodward, Fabien Galthie and Agustín Pichot on last Monday’s conference call.

It means Le Drop in Paris and everything that followed is put on a global pedestal. He even drove to Cork to shake Ronan O’Gara’s hand before his former nemesis moved the family to New Zealand.

“[Sexton] deserves it not only for his on field qualities but also for his off field,” tweeted O’Gara. “Never had it easy, played AIL for years, nearly lost his Leinster contract but kept persevering. A brilliant player, but a better person with great values.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.