Joe Schmidt Sets His Target For This Year’s Six Nations
This time last year Joe Schmidt set a target of a top half finish in the Six Nations.
The Ireland team were coming off the back of a tough Rugby World Cup campaign that saw his side decimated with injuries. Despite winning the tournament the two years previous, Schmidt was realistic and he as right in the end.
Ireland struggled and England benefitted from being knocked out early, coming into the tournament fresh and under new guidance. Schmidt however was looking to the long-term and it seems his patience has been rewarded.
His side put in some admirable performances in South Africa, despite still not having a full clean bill of health, before a tremendous November series. His willingness to blood young players looks to have paid off and Ireland look to be in great shape heading into the year’s Six Nations.
The last three years I kinda had to put the pin in the wall and make a marker,” said Schmidt
“I think I said in the first two years that a top-two finish would be something I would be really happy with. Last year, just on the back of losing so much experience and so much ability through injury, it was a bit of a rebuilding time for us. I think we built not too badly.
“I think it is going to be more competitive than ever but again it would be great if we could get a top-two finish. England are obviously incredibly tough, I think France are going to be a tough as well.
“I think Wales are the sleeping giant, we have had trouble getting ahead of them in the Millennium before and if you remember last year England totally dominated them for the first maybe 50/60 minutes and Wales could have won that match. They scored some great late tries and they have the firepower to really challenge as well.”
What do you think? Do Ireland have enough to finish in the top 2 this year, or even go all the way?