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Ireland coach Joe Schmidt taking big gamble with his strategy, insists World Cup winner Kay

Joe Schmidt has adopted a "risky strategy" in preparing Ireland to peak for a potential World Cup Pool D decider against France, according to Ben Kay.

England World Cup winner Kay claims Ireland squad players have revealed head coach Schmidt (pictured) has staggered their build-up to keep key men fresh for the pivotal clash on Sunday, October 11. Ireland will launch their pool-stage campaign by taking on Canada in Cardiff on Saturday, with Italy and Romania their other early rivals.

Schmidt is aiming to guide double RBS 6 Nations winners Ireland to their first-ever World Cup semi-final, with 2003 winner Kay backing the Kiwi boss in his calculated gamble.

"One of their issues has been looking at the fixtures ahead of them and planning," said former England and Leicester lock Kay.

"Because their first World Cup game against Canada, they haven't performed particularly well, then Romania - Ireland probably have the easiest draw.

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"So they've got that build-up then they have a tougher game against Italy, and the big one against France at the end.

"Speaking to people around the squad they are saying that their build-up has been slightly different in that they are looking to peak slightly later in the tournament.

"That's a risky strategy if you can't get the confidence."

Former Bay of Plenty coach Schmidt created a feared attacking arsenal as Leinster dominated the European scene, but has reined in that style at Test level.

Kay believes the Ireland boss has simply reacted to resources, but pinpointed Ireland's suffocating style as hugely profitable in high-pressure World Cup contests.

Belfast Telegraph


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