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Mike Ross has wildly different opinions of Schmidt, Cheika and O'Connor


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It's been just over a year since Mike Ross' Leinster career came to an end.

The former Ireland international prop has released an autobiography which tells the story of his time for province and nation as well as his experiences growing up and off the pitch.

He's worked with a number of the leading coaches that have worked at Leinster including Michael Cheika, Joe Schmidt and Matt O'Connor, all of whom drew different opinions from Ross who played for all three at Leinster and also additionally for Ireland with Schmidt. He especially adored Schmidt but did not gel with O'Connor.

He discusses those feelings towards his former coaches with Joe Molloy as he popped in to discuss his book.  

Michael Cheika

"Cheika came along and utterly transformed Leinster and really gave them a hard edge but I think he had a good side and a bad side, and if you were lucky enough and were on his good side, but if you weren't you might as well have been in Siberia. I found it virtually impossible to get back in his good books once I made a mistake in a match."

Joe Schmidt

"After Cheika, who was quite a loud and boisterous character, Joe seemed quite quiet and reserved. We hadn't seen what was lying underneath there yet. But maybe [we thought] he might be a softer touch than Cheika.

"But as we were soon to discover, that wasn't the case at all. He basically sat me down and said, 'What do you bring to the team?'

"I presumed, 'You're the coach, you should know what I bring to the team'. So I needed to settle my stall out and the main point of difference I had over the props was my scrummaging. So that's what I put out there.

"He said, 'Alright...OK...but I need more from you'. And he demanded more from us and he demanded more from me. But at the same time, I tell the story in the book, where we're in a team meeting and a winger scores a try. Nothing to do with me.

"And [Schmidt] turns around and goes, 'That was your man!' Then he rewinds the tape and he says, 'You're ahead of [the winger] here. If you started running here when he got the ball, you'd be in a position to catch him. It's not a question of him being quicker than you.'"

As Ross added, "Smarter, Harder, Earlier" was the mantra behind Schmidt's relentless brilliance as a coach.

Matt O'Connor 

"He wouldn't have been my favourite person at the time. But that happens. It just seemed different from Joe.

"Joe would be more cold logic and emotionless and Matt was probably a bit more the other way. I just hadn't been talked to by a coach like that ever. [I felt like an academy kid] and not like with 40-odd caps at that stage. There's a way of delivering a message and I'm a firm believer in that. You can get your message across without resorting to that kind of style.

"I didn't want to have anything to do with him after that!"  


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