Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Joe Schmidt: Ireland can only get better

Brian O'Driscoll with supporters as the Ireland team arrive at Dublin Airport, Ireland. Pic Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Brian O'Driscoll with supporters as the Ireland team arrive at Dublin Airport, Ireland. Pic Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Cian Healy lifts the 6 nations trophy as the Ireland team arrive at Dublin Airport, Ireland.
Cian Healy lifts the 6 nations trophy as the Ireland team arrive at Dublin Airport, Ireland.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton is stretchered off during the Six Nations match at the Stade de France, Paris, France.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton is stretchered off during the Six Nations match at the Stade de France, Paris, France.

You ain't seen nothing yet. That was the message from Ireland coach Joe Schmidt as his Six Nations heroes made a triumphant return to Dublin yesterday.

As far as Schmidt is concerned, the tense 22-20 victory over France in Paris which clinched the title is only the start of a new era.

"They've very much earned the right to be champions," said the 48-year-old Kiwi (right). "I don't think they ever sat back and just said 'Look, we've got a talented group, we're capable'. They said 'We've got to work hard and get our noses over the line'."

Listing the qualities that had turned the side which finished second-bottom 12 months ago into title winners, Schmidt cited: "Work ethic, unity.

"I think they're just a great group of rugby players who have worked really hard and I thought we saw some trust in each other that has developed with the group that's been there."

Ulster's Chris Henry, who had an outstanding series after being handed the potentially thankless job of taking over from injured British and Irish Lion Sean O'Brien, was upbeat of what lies ahead.

"When we have been really clinical, when we know what we're about and execute the way Joe wants us to do it, we are a dangerous side," the big flanker said.

"So I can't see why we can't move forward. We have to move forward – it would be a shame not to."

Further Reading

Ireland fans hail Six Nations conquering heroes on return from epic showdown in France

RBS 6 Nations: Ulster's fearless warriors played pivotal role

RBS 6 Nations: Taste of glory has Chris Henry dreaming of future silverware

RBS 6 Nations: Brian O'Driscoll gets final wish

RBS 6 Nations: Devin Toner wants that winning feeling to last

RBS 6 Nations: Mathieu Bastareaud looks up to Brian O'Driscoll

RBS 6 Nations: France coach Philippe Saint-Andre feels punished

RBS 6 Nations: We can launch a World Cup assault, says Cian Healy

France v Ireland: Thank you Brian O'Driscoll 

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