“Class Is Permanent” – Joe Schmidt Launches Staunch Defence Of Two Star Men

Form is temporary.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has jumped to the defence of his world class halfback pairing of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray, following a below par performance against England last weekend.

Both players weren’t up to their usual high standard, with England duo Owen Farrell and Ben Youngs outshining the pair at the Aviva. But last Saturday’s game was the first time the pair started together since last summer’s tour of Australia.

And Schmidt is confident both will get back to the kind of levels everyone knows they are capable of.

“I think they are class players and class is permanent,” Schmidt said.

“Form can be temporary and coming back after not having played in a month, a player might be a bit rusty.”

“A player who has had a longer lay-off and is getting back to their rhythm, he might be a bit rusty.”

“So this period for us is super for them to build themselves back to where they need to be, and I think I said post the game that we’ve always tended to finish strongly in the championship and we’re going to have to, going away to Wales at the end of this.”

“But whether we’ve been home or away, we’ve won our last game in the championship so I do think that we can build our way through this championship and I think those two guys, as a hub, will build themselves forward.”

“I’ve chatted to both of them, mainly to offer them the same confidence that so many people have in them, including the players in the team; that they are outstanding contributors to our environment off the pitch, they are class players on the pitch and they are just the sort of competitive animal we need going to a hostile environment, which Murrayfield will be.”

[Irish Independent]