Paul O'Connell confident new Ireland rugby coach can cope with pressure

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 3:01pm


Paul O'Connell is confident Joe Schmidt will have no trouble adjusting to the international scene in his new role as Ireland coach after the New Zealander's successful spell in charge of Leinster.

Schmidt twice steered the Irish province to European Cup glory, but now has the challenge of guiding Ireland's fortunes after succeeding Declan Kidney on a three-year contract encompassing the 2015 World Cup in England. His first games in charge of Ireland come in a November home series where southern hemisphere nations Samoa, Australia and world champions New Zealand are set to provide stiff opposition.

"Any time you work with someone new and as successful a coach as Joe Schmidt, it is always a good thing," former Ireland and British & Irish Lions captain O'Connell said.

"We've only had a small number of sessions with him, but they have been really enjoyable and stimulating.

"Joe has a tried and trusted way of running his coaching staff and running the teams he coaches, and you look at the success he has had with Leinster over the last number of years and it is hard not to trust that."

Meanwhile, Schmidt said he did not underestimate the scale of his new job. "I know the Guinness Series is only weeks away now and those weeks tend to go quickly when you are watching a lot of rugby and a lot of footage.

"There are obviously challenges to build strength and depth in a number of positions. Some of those positions are well known, but right from the back to the front of the team you want to build strength in depth."

Schmidt added: "We found out last season that you are only a few injuries away from being made a little bit vulnerable, so we have got to try to build that depth.

"If we can build that, it will give us more stability going forward, and we can be a bit more regular with our performance."