Luke Fitzgerald Recalls The Time Joe Schmidt Called Out Brian O’Driscoll
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No one is exempt.
Luke Fitzgerald recently sat down with former teammate Fergus McFadden on Independent.ie’s The Left Wing podcast, to discuss all things Leinster and Ireland rugby.
Interestingly the pair discussed in depth Joe Schmidt’s hugely successful period as Leinster boss that eventually led to him become Ireland’s head coach. Schmidt won a PRO12 title and two Heineken Cups during his time with the province.
Schmidt is well-known for his video sessions, and how blunt and honest he can be with his players. Fitzgerald and McFadden recall a session back in 2010, where they discovered no one was exempt from his wrath, not even Brian O’Driscoll.
“About four or five games in, we were playing Cardiff I think it was. It wasn’t a defensive scenario but it was in attack. Someone threw Drico an absolute daisy-cutter of a pass. Drico drops it; it was a slippy day and it was a really hard one to take,” said Fitzgerald
“Then it comes to this clip, Joe has picked out this clip with Drico dropping a pass. He just – to the group – flippantly says, ‘Yeah, Drico, good players take those’ and stopped and turned back to the footage.”
“The whole room, there was a collective gasp and it was like, ‘Jesus, who is this guy?’ It was a great way to set out his stall. Whether it was pre-planned or not, I don’t think it was because Drico was like ‘Jesus, that hasn’t happened to me in ten years!”
McFadden reckons Schmidt did it to make a point and show that “everyone is equal in this room”, with Fitzgerald adding that “good players take those” became a saying for the Leinster squad in the years to come.