Schmidt eyes fast start in Rome

Date published: February 9 2017

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is eager for his side to avoid another slow start against Italy when they run out at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Irish team bus was 15 minutes behind its scheduled arrival last week and they seemed to be sluggish out of the blocks at Murrayfield.

Schmidt revealed that his squad appeared unsettled during the warm-up for that game and wants an improvement this weekend in Rome.

"I have challenged them for a better start in Italy," he told Press Association Sport.

"I think it's incredibly disappointing the way we started last weekend. I don't think it was apathy, there was a bit of anxiety at not having had the full period to warm up.

"Players get anxious, they get very routine-based and I do think it's a challenge for a professional player that they can be adaptable in different circumstances, so they can still start well and cope."

Looking to bounce back this week, he added: "We were really disappointed with the way we started.

"They scored three tries in those first 25 minutes, then didn't score another try after that. And I think that reflects what the team were capable of, but unfortunately then you're chasing things.

"So we've certainly given them that challenge this week, and hopefully we see a better start."

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