Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Schmidt dreams of one final bit of history with Ireland

Rhys Patchell was making his first Test start since June 2018 on Saturday Rhys Patchell was making his first Test start since June 2018 on Saturday
Shannon Reynolds | 10 September, 2019, 13:16

"We got a performance we could be proud of - the first quarter of the game we couldn't hang onto the ball, but I thought we did a really good job defensively and then we built our way into the game and we dominated the last quarter", he added.

Ireland came out pumped for the second half and laid siege to the Welsh line.

"We all know who the favourites are in this World Cup and it's not us".

Asked if he had any concerns with just two fly-halves in his squad, Gatland said: "Well, we'll see how he comes out of the next couple of days".

Schmidt, who will take time out of the game when he returns to New Zealand and focus on family matters, recognises that for the semi-final dream to be fulfilled the first pool match with Scotland on September 22 could be pivotal.

'It's hard to stop a team like that, when they're good at the breakdown and got collision dominance. They choked us to death.' Wales will improve enormously once teams pull the cards away from their chests.

"That's what these games are all about". "It has been a big week and it is a big opportunity for players to put their hand up and secure spots for the starting XV in Japan".

"It was disappointing not to be involved in Gats' last game at home".

Publically reserved Schmidt, who has become an Irish citizen during his spell in Ireland which also included three years as Leinster head coach yielding two European Cups, concedes privately it is an entirely different matter.

Patchell collided with Ireland No 8 CJ Stander before leaving the field
Patchell collided with Ireland No 8 CJ Stander before leaving the field

"It means that over a long period of time you have done more things right than wrong".

"Teams have capitulated with that amount of pressure".

Whilst Gatland expects Patchell to be fit - he had concussion last season - he took issue with the directive from World Rugby about tackling lower, as the flyhalf suffered the blow to the head when he tackled CJ Stander.

"It's a freakish injury", Patchell said.

"Where he has got that knock he has probably gone a bit low".

There were more eyes than usual on the Irish lineout after chief jumper Devin Toner was surprisingly left out of the World Cup squad midweek and Wales duly stole Best's first two throws, threatening another misfiring afternoon after Twickenham.

"But you need that luck, you need a few things to go your way".

The Kiwis have held the Webb Ellis trophy since 2011 and Ireland boss Joe Schmidt certainly feels they are the side to beat. "That's important. These are warm-up games, not a Six Nations game where it matters about winning".

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