Ireland coach Joe Schmidt praised the support of the crowd at Ireland’s victory over England on Sunday and said he had known before the match even started that they would be crucial to the team.
“We just knew the crowd were going to be massive,” he said in his post-match press conference. “It would probably be the only time pre-match that I’ve ever mentioned the crowd to the players.
“We felt today that they (the crowd) would reciprocate whatever we endeavored to achieve on the pitch and I think they did.”
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Schmidt said the passion of the Ireland supporters was such he thought in the first-half it might actually have influenced the officiating.
“We got over the line twice very early in the game and they almost had (referee) Craig Joubert convinced that we just deserved a try and give us one,” he explained.
“But unfortunately the laws were being refereed instead of the passion.”
Schmidt’s comments added to Gareth Thomas’s remarks about how difficult opposition sides found coming to Dublin.
“The Irish crowd love their rugby and they love their side, so that can make it a very intimidating place to be,” Thomas wrote.
Schmidt paid tribute to the fervent support, saying that the team drew strength from it, particularly toward the end of a physically demanding game.
“It’s a great place to play,” he said. “It’s a place where we feel comfortable because we know we’ve got such a strong and vocal support.
“In that last 10 or 15 minutes we had some very, very tired players and sometimes you need something to just prop you up a bit and keep you going.”
Listen to Joe Schmidt’s full interview here.