Schmidt: Rankings are a 'distraction'

Schmidt: Rankings are a 'distraction'

By Grainne McGuinness and Shaun Cronin

Ireland head coach was unaware that yesterday’s win over Georgia would move Ireland up to third in the IRB rankings and said it wasn’t something he or the players were concerned about.

“Really?” he responded when told. “I think it’s a distraction. I don’t think we can win anything by saying we’re third in the world.”

“We have to tidy up our scrum, get our set-piece right and just try to get those practical things right.”

He was pleased to see the players rewarded for their hard work over the last year.

“I think it’s fantastic if that’s the case.,” he said. “I think it is a feather in the cap of the fellows who rolled their sleeves up for the last 12 months, but I can’t say it’s something we’d be talking about or even aware of.”

“You can see (Eoin Reddan) is delighted!”

Schmidt was pleased with the performances of all three debutants. Dave Foley was Man of the Match after a stellar first game for Ireland and the coach said Dominic Ryan and Robin Copeland, who came off the bench, had also done well.

“Dominic Ryan is being mentioned, not probably for his performance, but I think his performance was good,” he said. “He got some solid ball-carry over the game line. His work-rate was high.”

“Robin Copeland came on and delivered something a little outside the box. He got a couple of good off-loads away and is a guy who can just change the shape of the game. He’s such a good athlete it allows him to get either into space or to dominate collision and free the ball up.”

“There was a little bit in all three of them that will keep us interested in the future,” he concluded.

Schmidt was also asked about the performances of Darren Cave and Stuart Olding, but wanted time to review the game before giving a final analysis.

“With any of those assessments, I like to take my time,” he said. “I have a gut feeling that Darren was solid and Stu finished that try nicely.”

“We’ll have a look at the footage and try and make assessments about all kinds of players.”

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