O'Brien absence covered – Schmidt

Date published: February 7 2014

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt praised his back-row for making up for the absence of bruising Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien last weekend.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt praised his back-row for making up for the absence of bruising Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien last weekend.

Star openside O'Brien is out of the Six Nations due to injury, with Ulster's Chris Henry taking his place in the number seven jersey.

Losing O'Brien's dynamic ball-carrying ability is obviously a blow, but Schmidt believes that Henry – along with Peter O'Mahony and Jamie Heaslip – more than made up for O'Brien's absence against Scotland and can do the same this weekend against Wales.

“We certainly miss Sean. But the one thing I would say, I thought Peter O'Mahony, Chris Henry and Jamie Heaslip all chipped in and added a little bit of value that covered for Sean last week in the win against Scotland,” said Schmidt.

“Chris carried well, and Peter, he might not have made too many carries, but he was absolutely superb.”

Turning his attention to Wales, Schmidt admitted to being cautious of the kicking threat provided by Leigh Halfpenny off the tee, whilst also praising the overall kicking game of Wales number ten Rhys Priestland.

“You're very conscious of [Halfpenny],” said Schmidt.

“You're very conscious of conceding penalties in your own half too, though, because Rhys Priestland has a nice kicking game.

“The one thing I would say is that our discipline, over the four games we've played so far, has probably been better than anyone. We'd hope that would continue.

“It's something we are working incredibly hard on, even in training. If we see anyone that is off their feet or a half an inch offside, we are trying to pull them up straight away and keep that message coming in so we concede as few penalties as possible.”

COMMENTS