Former Leinster rugby player Andy Dunne gave OTB:AM an insight into the workings of Joe Schmidt’s meticulous preparation that led to Ireland’s Grand Slam success this weekend.
Andy was speaking to Eoin and Ger about an interaction he had with Ireland’s Kiwi coach when he was coaching an amateur side in the province.
“It was about three or four years ago. By a funny quirk of fate, one of our players was more or less surplus to requirements at Leinster, but he was central to us as an amateur club, and we asked whether he could be released for a crucial league game and Joe said ‘no’. They needed a twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth player and Joe was his employer. That was absolutely fine.
“I think he knew that I was crestfallen by his decision and he said ‘Look, I tell you what I’ll do – come in and I’ll give you an example of what I do to analyse the opposition,’” said Andy.
“He pulled out a document – a couple of hundred pages-worth – I figured it was probably his caseload for the whole year. It was just his notes on a Glasgow game from Friday night. So he had watched that game six or seven times through – eighty minutes in full, from various different angles and he’d taken that many notes by Sunday evening - 48 hours later.
“I think I realised at that stage that I’d never be a professional rugby coach!”
Andy is convinced that Schmidt will have taken this approach even further, however, and that this is in no small part the reason that Irish rugby has seen the fruit of his labour.
“I’d imagine that he’s developed from that again and obviously a lot of these guys have huge support staff and can delegate. I actually think with Schmidt, there’s a part of that approach which he loves that makes him feel prepared and central to his management role. He’s a hands-on coach, as opposed to a stand-off Director of Rugby.”
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