Find a page

Schmidt: Baa-baas a chance to shine
28 May 2015 09:09
Joe Schmidt has said that although Ireland will go out to try to to ensure a high-quality game against the Barbarians on Thursday (kick-off 7.45pm), the match is also a chance for players to stake a claim for more involvement in the run-up to the World Cup.
-
On Wednesday, Schmidt named a side with a few unfamiliar faces for the game at Thomond Park, and he has had to plan without the involvement of Munster players, who are preparing for their Pro12 final against Glasgow on Saturday.
-
With the Barbarians having selected a strong starting XV, the game promises to be entertaining, in fitting with the traditions of clashes involving the Baa-Baas, and though Schmidt said the lack of Munster players had presented a challenge, he also stressed that the new faces in the Ireland camp had hit the ground running.
-
“It’s difficult, but it’s been a lot of fun as well,” Schmidt told RTÉ Sport. “The players have come in really positively; they’ve gelled really quickly between the two provinces that are involved.
-
“I think the Barbarians as a club, and the tradition they have in the game, but also the personnel they’ve selected, it’s sparked a bit of interest from our lads, that’s for sure.”
-
Schmidt agreed that Ireland were expecting the unexpected against a side that only trained together for the first time in recent days, but warned that the Barbarians brought with them some remarkable attacking ability.
-
“We’ve tried to just focus on ourselves, and I think if we can be as efficient as possible, it won’t give them as much access to the game,” he said.
-
“Because they don’t need a lot of access: you get the likes of Olivier and Rokocoko in the midfield, David Smith and Zane [Kirchner] and Alex Cuthbert in their back three; I think, if you are getting bored then they throw Gio Aplon into the mix when the game is breaking open a little bit – he’s one of the best broken-field runners that you can imagine.
-
“I’m pretty sure Jimmy will threaten the line as well. He’s got a good turn of gas, and turns inside-out. I think also when Gio Aplon comes on you might have [Tomas] Cubelli: he’s unbelievable, a slippery little man around the edge. When Ruan [Pienaar] gets a bit tired or bored they’ll throw him on.”
-
Schmidt also identified threats in the Baa-Baas pack and said Ireland would need to be “on our mettle” if they are to win, but also highlighted the ethos of the Barbarians as a positive for the game.
-
“Play the game [is the ethos],” he said. “The result is less important than the quality of the game. I just hope the weather improves a bit.”
-
He said he knew it was not a Test-level match but “there are Test-level players” and that it was a chance for some of his players to put their hands up and “look for further involvement further down the line.”
-

Where can I get RTÉ Aertel Digital?

RTÉ Aertel Digital is an enhanced digital version of the RTÉ Aertel teletext service. It functions in the same way as the analogue service, offering current news, sport and weather updates but is now more agile and easier to use.

RTÉ Aertel Digital is available on Saorview, the new free digital TV service in Ireland.
Press TEXT button on your remote to launch Aertel from RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, RTÉ News Now.