‘Ireland discipline essential’ – Schmidt

Date published: February 6 2016

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt wants his team to build on their fine discipline during the upcoming Six Nations.

The men from the Emerald Isle won back-to-back Six Nations titles and Schmidt feels their fine disciplinary record played a big part in their success.

"Our penalty count in the last Six Nations averaged less than 10, and the year before was less than eight – and there's nothing that we're doing that's different in trying to stay disciplined," he told RTE.

Schmidt has advised referee Jérôme Garcès, who will be officiating Ireland's opener against Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, to steer away from any pre-conceived ideas about the Irish and Welsh scrum.

"I don't think referees can afford to go into any game with preconceived ideas," added Schmidt.

"If you look at our games against England in the last two years there have been great scrum battles, they stay up, they stay square and you get a good contest.

"And you look through the games in the World Cup and it is exasperating to be honest. It's one of the things that I've no doubt Wales are trying to correct as well."

Schmidt said Ireland will be looking stay on the right side of Garces at the set-piece on Sunday.

"We may end up with a really good, square scrum battle on the weekend and that's something that we would certainly be very keen to have and something we try to have week to week," he explained.

"You look through last year's Six Nations and there were really positive scrum battles, again with England and with Scotland, either side of that Wales game there were very good battles."