Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

RBS 6 Nations: Seize the day and the Triple Crown, urges Joe Schmidt

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt has urged his players to seize the day at Twickenham tomorrow after naming an unchanged line-up to face England.

The ex-Leinster coach, who won an incredible four trophies in three seasons with the province, stands on the brink of claiming the Triple Crown if they can overcome Stuart Lancaster's charges and he admitted yesterday: "We would love to get a bit of silverware". After claiming the Crown four times in six seasons during the so-called Noughties, Ireland have gone four years without beating England, Scotland and Wales in a single season and 15 of the 23 players named in the match-day squad for the third Six Nations clash of the season have never won a trophy in an Irish jersey.

Beating England on their own patch – where they have lost just one Championship game since Ulster star Tommy Bowe's famous late try in 2010 – will be no mean task, but it would represent a real sign of the progress that Schmidt has made since he replaced Declan Kidney last summer and set up a Grand Slam attempt with Italy at home and France away to come. The New Zealander acknowledged that opportunity knocks for his team.

"We have a really player-driven environment and a lot of people have done a massive job in preparing the people in the environment," he said.

"We play for silverware. We have some key performance indicators that give us feedback on how accurate we've been, but, in the end, we're results driven because we have to be, the public are results driven and we would love to get a bit of silverware, there is no doubt about that at all."

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