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George Hook: Joe Schmidt’s Innate Conservatism Is Holding Ireland Back

Controversial rugby pundit George Hook has blasted Ireland coach Joe Schmidt for his conservative approach in the run-up to the Six Nations championship.

Ireland crashed out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stages against Argentina, and Hook sees the start of a new cycle as a time for change.

However, Schmidt does not agree, and omitting Garry Ringrose from the squad is an act of conservatism according to Hook.

Despite the fact that this week’s squad announcement was widely heralded as being progressive, the Leinster centre’s omission was criticised considering his impressive form in limited showings this season.

2014 Junior World Championship - Match Day 5 - Garry Ringrose

Hook, never one to hold back, wrote in his column in The Irish Independent of his outrage at the decision.

“This season, despite excelling in the limited opportunities given to him at Leinster, Ringrose has inexplicably been overlooked by Joe Schmidt.

“Indeed, amid the clamour to congratulate the Ireland coach for his daring selection of just four new faces – how many will actually be involved in the match-day squad come kick-off against Wales on Sunday week?”

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“Now, as the cycle towards Japan 2019 begins in earnest, Schmidt has once again displayed his innate conservatism. And, over the next three years, Irish rugby will be worse off for it.

“Instead of picking guys that will almost certainly – barring injury – become the mainstay of Ireland’s World Cup squad in 2019, Schmidt has opted to continue with the majority of the players that so badly under-performed against Argentina last year, many of whom will not be around in three years’ time.”

Hook was on a roll, and went for the jugular in effectively calling for the IRFU to get rid of Schmidt altogether.

“In the meantime, Ireland’s brightest rugby coach prepares to pack his bags at the end of this season and leave London for pastures new.

“If the IRFU had any sense, they would go cap-in-hand and beg Conor O’Shea to bring his expertise home. Alas, for the time being, it will not happen.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.