Interesting to hear a top coach from outside the system's take on it.
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Warren Gatland was a great man for butting heads with his opposite number in the build up to game, he even clashed Eddie Jones before the World Cup final he had no part in.
The former Ireland coach has looked back on Joe Schmidt’s final year in charge, with both men departing their coaching roles, and hasn’t been too kind to his fellow Kiwi.
Gatland points to three big issues for the Irish team: egos, players past their peek (sic) and his ability to get under Joe Schmidt’s skin.
Speaking to Off the ball, Gatland said ‘Joe Schmidt seems to get more wound up the week Ireland are playing Wales, because if I say anything it absolutely drives him crazy.
‘It does bother Joe. He might deny that, but people within the Irish camp are telling me: ‘Please don’t say anything this week, because Joe will go mental about any comments you make’.’
Gatland also believes Schmidt should have given some new players more of a chance in the World Cup when it mattered.
‘I’m not on the inside, but looking from the outside in and the only question I would ask is had two or three of those players, who had been brilliant over the years, gone a little bit past it?
‘Was there one or two younger players who, if they’d been given the opportunity, could have been stars?’
And the one time coach of the green army said that Ireland’s egos got in their way when it came to executing their game plan over the last 12 months.
‘It was hard to play against (Ireland and their tactics), hard to stop. They played very direct, a lot of stuff off 9. When we played Ireland the biggest thing we spoke about was keeping discipline, try not to give away penalties because they kick for the corner, they had the ability to keep the ball in your ’22 for phase after phase, it was difficult to get off.
‘That’s hard to stop and sometimes what happened, and it could have been me or Eddie Jones, you could talk Ireland out of playing that way.
‘Egos would get the better of Ireland, they’d try and play a different way and be more expansive. They sometimes did (change) to their detriment. Look at England, (defence coach) John Mitchell came out and said before the first game of the Six Nations and said ‘We can’t let Ireland bore us to death’.
‘I think Ireland tried a few things and realised ‘we know what works for us’. But the thing with Ireland, when we had our success against Ireland, we went in thinking discipline was really important, stopping that go-forward from No 9, and then if you did that what do they have to go to?’