Make everyone’s job easier.
It’s the type of snappy mantra that must get tossed around dressing-rooms the world over, but one that seems to have resonated with those inhabiting the locker overseen by Joe Schmidt.
Dave Kilcoyne mentioned it yesterday when talking about the collective culture in the Ireland setup after a week like the one just passed when the game itself against a tier two nation would always carry the air of a final trial. Craig Gilroy touched on it, too, when asked about the dichotomy that is trying to show enough individual flair and class to further your own case for selection in the future while, at the same time, doing your bit for the team.
“Look, it’s vital,” said the Ulster wing. “You want to put your hand up and show what you can do but, at the same time, Joe is very team-orientated and you need to play in a way that helps the guy beside you.
“It is important to get that happy medium right and ... I wish I got my hands a bit more on the ball, but I think in terms of a team effort, I really tried to do what was best for the team.”
Some will point to the final scoreline and question the benefit of a run-out like yesterday’s. Maybe even criticise the performance of the Irish side in that first 40 minutes all the more given the context.
Kilcoyne didn’t offer anyone a stick to beat the team with, pointing instead to the fact the majority of tier one sides who have played Georgia in recent years have found the opening 40-50 minutes just as difficult.
Ireland would not have been helped by the fact this was essentially a third-choice side — when the 18 absent players this month are accounted for — or by the decision to ask just two of the starters from the week before to back up seven days later.
Whatever the effect all that had on the team as it struggled to impose itself on the Eastern Europeans, the bottom line was, not just an ultimately facile victory, but a further deposit into the account marked ‘strength in depth’.
“I certainly think so” said Kilcoyne. “You saw the side that played out there today. A different side to the one that played against South Africa and probably a different side to the one you will see against Australia so if you can get three wins for three with that kind of rotation then you have strength in depth in certain areas.”
A hat-trick would be an achievement of real note and one that would propel Schmidt’s side towards their defence of their Six Nations title with a momentum that could prove invaluable next February.
“Look, Joe and the rest of the players don’t look at it like that, but I know what you mean,” said Kilcoyne. “Three from three, obviously, would be brilliant, but at this level you just need to take it game by game.
“You can get carried away looking too far ahead. It’s probably happened us in a the past. The whole focus now has just got to be Australia and be as prepared as we can for that game.”
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