Joe Schmidt lashes back at George Hook over Jared Payne criticism

Joe Schmidt yesterday hit out at "so-called pundit" George Hook after the RTÉ rugby panellist’s criticism of Ireland centre Jared Payne after last Saturday’s defeat by Wales.

Hook described New Zeland-born, Irish qualified Payne as a “second-rate foreign player” in the wake of the 23-16 defeat in Cardiff that ended Ireland’s hopes of a Grand Slam.

Head coach Schmidt’s side still have a chance of retaining their RBS 6 Nations title this weekend in Scotland and having named his side for tomorrow’s trip to Murrayfield he praised the leadership qualities of his backline, including Ulster’s Payne.

“I’m not a patient man,” Schmidt continued. “I’m not going to say we’re being patient about it, but we have to be a little bit tolerant of the development that needs to take place.

“For us, I was incredibly disappointed with one of the so-called pundits slating one of our midfield last weekend when I thought he’d played a good game and I thought he actually opened them up.

“He made a couple of line breaks and was dead solid defensively.

“That sort of thing, when we’re trying to build confidence in players, filters back to players through family and friends and I don’t think it helps.

“I don’t think it’s accurate, it’s one of those unfortunate by-products of having people for entertainment value as opposed to people who are a little bit more in-depth in their analysis as the other two pundits were.”


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