Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt urges provinces to blood youth

Ireland's head coach Joe Schmidt (left) and assistant Les Kiss plot Samoa's downfall

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe and his Leinster, Munster and Connacht counterparts can expect to hear from Ireland's Joe Schmidt in the near future.

Speaking after Ireland's record-breaking 40-9 win – previously their best victory margin against Samoa was 27 points – Schmidt highlighted his desire to see young players tested in demanding situations.

"It's difficult for me now because every game is a final," Schmidt said. "You put your best team out in a final all the time, because you want to represent your country as best you can while at the same time you're trying to grow a group.

"So I'm relying on the provincial coaches to continue to give an opportunity to guys at PRO12 and particularly at Heineken (Cup) level because that's the next closest step to getting to the Test-match level. If we can get guys in that arena being really competitive, I know that the (next) step up is a little bit less and we can have a bit more confidence in some of them."

Being Ireland's first-choice fly-half and the Lions' Test match 10 in the 2013 series win against Australia, the consensus is that Sexton will take Paddy Jackson's place.

All Schmidt would say was: "We'd have to strongly consider Jonny coming back in. He does bring that experience and that quality – he wasn't the Lions' starting out-half for no reason.

"But I'd have to take my hat off to Paddy Jackson tonight. He's had to do it pretty tough at times, having been thrown in as a very young man and having to direct some very impressive men around the park. I think he said during the week about telling Paul O'Connell where he needs to be and feeling a little bit intimidated by that himself. I feel the same intimidation!" Schmidt joked.

"Ian Madigan, too; he hasn't had too many opportunities this year. He came on and you immediately saw a little bit of a spark."

Madigan's introduction when Brian O'Driscoll was withdrawn after 70 minutes saw Gordon D'Arcy move to 13 with the replacement slotting in at 12.

"Ian wasn't at 10, but his versatility allowed us to rest Drico a little bit and get him on there. I think at 10 we are building depth and I hope that continues to grow. Part of that growth is having a competitive environment. I know next week we're probably in a better place than if Jonny had played against Samoa and we'd needed to replace him through injury."

The Australians fired a warning salvo in Ireland's direction by scoring seven tries in their 50-20 rout of the Italians in Turin where they trailed 10-0 after 15 minutes

Nick Cummins (2), Ben Mowen, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Joe Tomane and Israel Folau bagged the tries, four of which were converted by Quade, with Christian Leali'ifano adding two conversions and a penalty.

Luke McLean, Lorenzo Cittadini and Tommaso Allan weighed in with a try apiece for the hosts, while Alberto di Bernardo donated a conversion and a penalty.

New Zealand, who face Ireland on Sunday week, made it 12 straight wins with a 26-19 victory over France in Paris.

England warmed up for the World Cup holders' visit by beating Argentina 31-12.

Wales went down 24-15 at home to South Africa while Scotland registered a fourth successive win against Japan in a 42-17 romp.

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