Joe Schmidt brushes away criticisms on Ireland's attacking gameplay

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has bristled against criticism of his style of play
Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has bristled against criticism of his style of play

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has played down criticisms about his team's attacking game-play in the ongoing Six Nations Championship.

Ireland are currently the only team in the tournament with a possibility of winning the Grand Slam after they won all the three games until now against France, Italy and Wales.

Warren Gatland offered a droll apology for previously criticising counterpart Schmidt’s attacking style after Ireland’s 37-27 win over Wales two weeks ago, sarcastically branding the Irish performance that day “so exciting”.

Several columnists have even suggested Ireland’s gain-line power against Wales paid homage to ‘Warrenball’, the term Brian Smith coined to describe Gatland’s hugely successful but no-holds barred power game.

When asked about Ireland's using the same attacking ploy against Scotland in the upcoming game, Schmidt said: "It’s ironic you say that, because I’d probably challenge people to do a little bit more homework.

“I think there was some really good tight play against Wales and some stuff that went through the middle, but there was some stuff down the edges as well.

“Johnny Sexton’s pass for Jacob Stockdale’s try, that’s still one of the best passes you’d see in world rugby. We’ve got to keep that variety to our game.”

A win on Saturday will mean Ireland will face the defending champions England in the final round with a hope to clinch the Grand Slam at Twickenham.

With Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne sidelined by injuries, Garry Ringrose will start at outside centre and Schmidt is pleased with the progress shown by the players in all facets of the game.

“At this stage we’ve probably made the third most offloads: it’s an area where people would love to beat us with a stick, and it’s probably overlooked by people that there is some continuity to our play,” said Schmidt.

“Those sorts of things should allow us the variety to try to keep a sort of balance in what we’re doing to attack them.

“And then obviously defensively we’re going to have to link up very well.”

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