Rory Best Responds To Tuohy’s “Belittled & Scared” Comments About Joe Schmidt

“He’s not there to make friends.”

Former Ireland captain Rory Best has defended his former head coach Joe Schmidt following some pretty serious revelations made by Dan Tuohy last month.

Tuohy claimed that Schmidt was a “scary character” and he didn’t like the fact that the New Zealander would belittle him or make him feel scared – and that a lot of other players felt the same.

Schmidt enjoyed unprecedented success when he was Ireland’s head coach, guiding them to a first-ever win over New Zealand, as well as a Six Nations Grand Slam back in 2018.

But that success came on the back of an “edgy environment” on the training pitch, according to Tuohy.

“He [Schmidt] is a pretty scary character – I didn’t react well to being belittled or feeling scared. It wasn’t a good thing for me. I didn’t enjoy that. I know a lot of other players didn’t as well,” Tuohy told The Telf Rugby Podcast.

“Some people thrive on that. But he wasn’t a warm character. He wasn’t … making an edgy environment on the training pitch, but afterwards he’d be quite personable, he’d be interested in you.”

Tuohy also claimed that Schmidt didn’t encourage trust within the squad’s playing style.

“I remember at one meeting he said ‘You do not offload. You haven’t got the skills to offload. And this is not me. This is the whole squad. You can’t offload, unless it’s 100 percent, don’t bother doing it. Just get the ball back, and we’ll keep the ball.

“So guys were just petrified to offload the ball. It just stifled creativity.”

But Best said Schmidt created a pressurised environment because “that’s what international rugby is” and noted that Schmidt was not there to “make friends” he was there to win rugby matches.

“Joe Schmidt created an environment that was pressurised, because that’s what international rugby is,” Best told us.

“He’s not there to please everyone, he’s not there to make friends. He was there to get an Irish team that was inconsistent and didn’t perform on the big occasions and were always seen as this golden generation that didn’t achieve anything, into a team that achieved. That’s what he did,

“I think some people thrive in those pressurised environments and some people don’t. If he’s nice to us and holds our hand through the week and then all of a sudden, ‘Bang’, you’re in a test match and Wales are trying to knock you backwards and you’re going, ‘Oh, they’re not meant to do this…’ It’s not good for you as a person, you as a player, and the team.

“Joe’s environment was always an environment that I loved because I love to be challenged. I love to try and get better. I never saw it as anything more than him putting pressure on you.”

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Former Ireland rugby captain Rory Best and his farming father John Best have teamed up with Specsavers this Farm Safety Week, to highlight the impact that excessive noise exposure can have on your hearing.

Agricultural workers experience one of the highest rates of hearing loss caused by loud noises on the farm. With over 137,500 farms in Ireland and more than a quarter of a million people working in agriculture in Ireland, Rory and John are encouraging people to address any hearing issues they are experiencing and to protect their hearing from loud noise.

For more information or to book an appointment visit

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