Schmidt not focusing on Gatland

Date published: March 13 2015

Joe Schmidt is known as a master tactician but he insists his focus will be on Ireland rather than Wales counterpart Warren Gatland.

The Kiwi pair will go head-to-head for the second time since Schmidt took over the Ireland job, with the former Leinster boss winning the first confrontation a year ago, a thumping 26-3 win in Dublin.

Schmidt has shown off his tactical acumen, adjusting his game plan depending on the opposition, but he claims the most important thing is ensuring Ireland are able to do what they want, rather than worrying about their opponents.

"To be honest, I don't really entertain the thought too much," Schmidt said when asked to outline Wales boss Gatland's coaching style.

"I certainly have massive respect for what he's achieved, having spent a bit of time with Gats when he was playing. I probably still remember him more from those days having played with and against him as young people.

"I don't really know too much about him as a coach. I went and visited him many years ago when he coached a very successful Wasps team.

"I guess some of the players would know him better than I do. Eoin Reddan would know him very well and some of the lads who travelled with the Lions would know him very well.

"But in the windows we have to prepare I don't try to second-guess what a coach might do with the team he's got.

"It's more what we feel we might need to do to put pressure on them and to relieve pressure from ourselves."