Dave Cahill wrote:The thing I found strange watching the match was how anti climatic the match itself was - in comparison to the build up and what was on the line. It was apparent after 20 mins to half an hour into it that Ireland were going to win. We had England sussed out and kept them pretty much at arms length. I found the last hour or so pretty excruciating, not because I thought England might come back into it, but because I simply wanted it to be over and the win confirmed. It was a very weird feeling to have about such an important game.
+1, and therein lies the genius of Schmidt. Increasingly over the past two years, he has found ways of upskilling the players so that the team's performance is more than the sum of the parts. By designing specific attacking plays which target the flaws in particular defensive patterns his players have become more confident in the execution of these plays, without the need for extraordinary individual acts which carry higher risk. As rhe team feels it has the armoury to overcome even resolute defences, it has become more confident in the manner in which they play the game, regardless of the position on the pitch.
Furthermore, it is now evident that all of the team have become sufficently proficient in executing up-tempo 'drives' of multiple phases which exert territorial and possession pressure on opponents and put the Irish team in scoring positions. We can now execute these almost like a top NFL team playing a series of running downs, without calling any time-outs.
Murray and Sexton are the Generals of these tactics but ensuring that their replacements can each do the same must be one of the things on Joe's to do list for Australia.
I think that’s the joe effect and I felt it too Dave. He has brought us to a place, where as supporters, we are so process driven that as a grand slam was unfurlonging, we have these weird feelings to such a victory. Kinda like we can look back on the empty platitudes of this glory at the end of our supporting careers, but for now we just need to focus on supporting at the next game and leaving the couch in a better place than we found it. These days we look at it and say Tadhg, maybe you could have sold that pass just a little bit more. Even joe himself, couple of times he looked too happy in the stands. If I didn’t know better I could’ve sworn I saw him celebrating on the way down the steps too. I bet I wasn’t the only supporter who thought to themselves: hold on, we’ve to win this next year Joe and we can have a decent shot at it. Park it and move on man. And I’m only partly joking.
I know by the other threads here that I definitely wasn’t the only one who immediately was thinking about the tour to Australia. This is the Joe effect. He has done it to the players and we’ve seen that — this team turns up and performs. Consistently. Late injury? The replacement performs. Attitude is great. Every action has a reason. Total focus. But you haven’t probably been aware this effect has been happening to yourself.
Then you turn round and you watch a grand slam, in Twickenham, on St Patrick’s day and it’s just another logical step, but then Joe says he sees the game like poetry and then you look back at that pass by Furlong and think how he squelches and slaps into tackles and how that pass was a bit like ‘I’ll dig with that’ and a hell of a line of poetry you ran there Bundee, never mind the bit of faking right and passing left after it, and how that was beyond the rules of grammar that the tighthead should make that pass and joe wrote all that and you think he can’t have said that on the hoof, he must have planned that and you find yourself wondering, because like, either way, it’s clever to have said it on the hoof, but if he planned it right from the French game, down to winning with the like of Stander’s try, and how he then had the grace to gently explain in terms like that, that it was
all planned, how he had to construct a foundation as the ‘meatgrinder’ (as labelled by Hugo) first and then start to have fun with it, waiting 4 years to use that play again, well then that’s not just clever, that’s a work of art. A masterpiece really. Obviously I’m getting carried away with all this and i am joking, but only partially. I think the reason I felt weird during the game on Saturday and I’d guess Dave too and possibly others, was because in 2009 (aside from it being 60 years versus 9 of waiting) getting over the line was
like a dream. Winning that grand slam was close to the height of our ambition and it took everything to get it. Now it feels more like a start and a foundation. And it was relatively comfortable. There’s lots of people who’ve helped with that and brought it to here, but Joe is something exceptional at the top of it.
Thanks Joe. A class apart. And I definitely ain’t joking about that much.