Schmidt: Brown boot ‘not on purpose’

Date published: February 27 2016

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Head coach Joe Schmidt felt that Ireland were hard done by with a disallowed try for Josh van der Flier in their loss to England at Twickenham.

Van der Flier was ruled to be held up after going over late in the second half at Twickenham, with England winning a penalty at the resulting scrum and clearing their lines.

Schmidt felt after studying the replays that the Ireland flanker had scored, adding that he felt his side's luck was out.

He neglected however to blame England full-back Mike Brown for his use of the boot at a ruck which left scrum-half Conor Murray requiring stitches.

"The players thought it was a try after seeing that angle. We can’t buy a trick at the moment too much. It was frustrating and would have put us back in the game with six minutes to go and them a man down," Schmidt said.

"If we get quick ball after Josh’s break then we score, but we’ve got to be better to get the support there so we don’t allow them to slow the ball down. We’ll give ourselves a better chance if we get that close support."

He added: "I’ve never tried to influence decisions like that. It’s probably something they’ll look back at because Conor has stitches right next to his eye.

"That strategy is fraught with risk with players in close proximity, but I know that Mike Brown wouldn’t have done it on purpose, he’s trying to connect with the ball. That’s for other people to determine if he’s been reckless."

On the contest Schmidt felt the rub of the green was against his side whilst addressing where Ireland's set-piece and failure to finish off chances let them down.

"We let them come back at us too easily. It’s hard to stop them. There was some fatigue from the first half when they put a lot of pressure on so to let them get back ahead of us after the Murray try was disappointing," he added.

"You lose a game because a ball slips out or because there seems to be a dark patch on the screen during a TMO decision, and it doesn’t fall your way. They’re the fine margins. There were two teams who were relatively even in a number of ways.

"They squeezed up the lineout really well and that platform didn’t work for us. Once you’re in the 22 and you’ve got those opportunities you can’t release that valve too easily."

Ireland fielded three new caps at Twickenham and Schmidt was pleased with the performances of the trio on their debuts, as Ireland try and bounce back against Italy at home in two weeks' time.

He explained: "Josh grew into the game and looked better and better as the game went on. He’s got a big engine and made some telling tackles. Stuart showed what a big strong carrier he can be for us. There were a couple of times that he needed to take care of the ball better. Ultan Dillane really put himself about and he’s a big strong kid. So there are some positives for us but we need to get a result and to build over the next two weeks.

"It’s a really proud group and they showed some real character and some real enterprise to create some super line breaks that we’ve got to be better at converting.

"It’s tough for Besty. He’s used to Paul O'Connell and Peter O’Mahony being there as key lineout options. Guys are coming and working hard but there’s a little bit of a transition period and we’re building past that. I guess the only thing I’d say is don’t lose faith, we’ll keep building and hopefully that’ll get people enthusiastic about what we’ll do in the next two games. 

"I’m positive by nature. I’m excited about the young guys coming in who have shown they can step up. We’re not quite getting the result, but I don’t seriously feel that we’re a million miles away."

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