Ireland in Australia with World Cup on their minds
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: A series victory in Australia will be another great achievement for Ireland, but for Joe Schmidt it is just another Test of his team’s development with a greater goal in mind.
Ireland have enjoyed a memorable season so far. They are currently unbeaten in 12 games and in that run they have won the Six Nations securing a Grand Slam.
The success continued in club level with province Leinster securing a historic double by winning the European Champions Cup and the Pro14.
Winning a three-Test series against Australia will the cherry on top for Irish Rugby, but head coach Schmidt already has his eyes set on a bigger prize in Japan in 2019.
“Whatever happens in Australia, I think we can get growth out of it,” Schmidt told The Times. “And if it is that someone gets shown that they need to learn more, that they need to understand more, that’s a good investment for us.
“We only get 12 shots at this a year and I suppose the last 12 have gone particularly well, results wise, and you’d love that to continue but there’s a greater goal in mind.
“It wouldn’t be often I’d say that but at the same time what’s right in front of our nose is going to be incredibly tough.”
Besides the results on the field, Schmidt has built some serious depth since he took over.
He has increased Ireland’s options at No.10 by giving youngster Joey Carbery ample opportunities on the international stage.
He has also brought in the likes of James Ryan, Jacob Stockdale and Andrew Porter over the last 12 months to build up their experience at Test level.
Ireland will be without regular captain Rory Best in June because of injury. However, there is no shortage of options for the No.2 jersey with Seán Cronin and Rob Herring pushing each other for a starting place in Brisbane on Saturday.
“We want to make sure this tour is another building block for what comes in the future,” Schmidt said. “The big tournament we play in on an annual basis is the Six Nations and we’re going to have a big target on our forehead for that next year and then obviously beyond that the really big tournament which follows in September, October is the World Cup.
“We don’t have too many options to trial things between now and then.”
Source: The Times