Six Nations 2015

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Scotland 10-40 Ireland
Ireland 'blessed' to have Joe Schmidt
ESPN Staff
March 22, 2015
Joe Schmidt addresses his team © Getty Images

Paul O'Connell says Ireland's back-to-back Six Nations titles rest entirely on never once questioning taskmaster boss Joe Schmidt's intense methods.

Ireland skipper O'Connell hailed head coach Schmidt's meticulous mindset in the wake of 40-10 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield that swiped the Six Nations crown once more. O'Connell believes Ireland's twin glories are wholly constructed on full confidence in boss Schmidt - even in the wake of galling defeats.

"He's right up there with the best I've worked with, he is a fantastic coach," said O'Connell. "I think the trust the players have in what he does and what his coaching staff do is a massive part of why we're successful.

"Certainly times like Australia in the first game, the England game last year, Wales last week, those were times where other teams might question themselves - but we never did. I don't think we've ever once done that. There's a lot of trust and a lot of confidence in the coaches."

Munster playmaker Conor Murray had just established himself as the British and Irish Lions' top scrum-half in touring victory in Australia when Schmidt took the Ireland helm. The fast-improving half-back was not prepared to rest on his laurels however, and admitted that Schmidt has since taken him to task at every occasion, badgering him to refine and distil his precision still further.

"When Joe came in we were nervous whether he would like you as a player, the style of play and would you fit into that," said Murray, delighting in Ireland's second Six Nations triumph. "That was the main part for me. I'm sure for a number of other players too.

"As time went on, you knew how good he was with what he had done with Leinster. It was just taking time to get used to his game plan. It was a little different to what we have played with before with our province or Ireland, so it just took a little bit of time.

"But the information he gives you is so clear and so accurate, you see it on the Tuesday in the video room and it does happen on Saturday in an international game. That is no surprise. He studies the game unbelievably hard and knows it inside out and we are blessed to have a coach like him."

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