Meticulous Coach Adds Polish to Irish Flair
When 48-year-old New Zealander Joe Schmidt was being lined up to take charge of Leinster in 2010, he met the province’s captain Leo Cullen and Test fly-half Jonny Sexton at a Dublin hotel as part of the interview process. The verdict was that he talked a good game, but was perhaps too pleasant to make the grade, the Daily Mail reports.
He got the job and soon dispelled their notion of a “Mr Nice Guy” with his relentless demand for excellence. Under the ex-headteacher, Leinster went from being among the European elite to undisputed kingpins and he earned his international call-up last summer.
Ex-England fly-half Alex King, now a coach at Northampton, spent three years working with Schmidt at Stade Marcel Michelin.
King told Sportsmail: “The way he gets his message across to the players is the most impressive thing. He breaks the game down and simplifies it and his attention to detail is amazing.
“He’s a very interesting coach and he constantly challenges people in meetings,” Ireland captain Paul O’Connell said.
Original article by Chris Foy, Daily Mail, February 19, 2014.
Photo by PA Wire/Press Association Images.