The All Blacks' ability to "win without the ball" is what makes them so dangerous as a team, says former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

Schmidt, who saw his Irish side fall to his native New Zealand at the World Cup, has been busy on a promotional tour for his new book, Ordinary Joe, which he wrote himself.

In an interview with The42, Schmidt – who has been criticised by some for a possession-heavy style – defended his rugby philosophy and offered an insight into why the All Blacks were able to beat his team so convincingly.

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"It's not the quantity of ball," said Schmidt. "A lot of the time, people say, 'They've had 75% possession,' but for me that's not the relevant statistic. It's the speed of the ball, it's where and when you get it, the quality of the ball – not the quantity.

"That's where I believe New Zealand are so good because they can win without the ball. Not many teams can do that. Unfortunately, against us this time, they won with the ball. So when they've got it, you're doubly in trouble."

Joe Schmidt. Photo / Photosport
Joe Schmidt. Photo / Photosport

Schmidt said his biggest error during Ireland's latest World Cup campaign was placing too much emphasis on reaching the semifinal – a feat the Irish have yet to achieve – instead of approaching it day-by-day.

"That was probably my biggest disappointment about how we set the World Cup up," Schmidt told The42. "I went away from what we'd normally do just because it was the only thing that we hadn't done.

"We'd beaten every other country and we'd got the Grand Slam ticked off, therefore we aimed up at trying to go for that one other thing. In retrospect, that was something that I didn't get right. We should have been hugely focused on the Six Nations and trying to keep our rhythm.

"To a degree, you get distracted by the weight of emphasis people put on the World Cup. I think the World Cup is so fickle. There have been nine World Cups and I think the All Blacks have probably been favourites for all nine of them, and they've won three of them and one of those, in 2011, was … tenuous.

"The one previous to that, they were incredibly unlucky in that quarter-final. There are ebbs and flows in the whole tournament."

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These days, Schmidt is enjoying time relaxing after moving on from international rugby but admits that coaching is still where he feels most comfortable.


"I still feel that I'm a little bit embedded in it because I would never be out involved and so visible in a period of time that's not during our playing schedule," said Schmidt. "I don't feel super comfortable doing interviews because you feel under a bit of pressure.

"I feel most comfortable coaching on the pitch, most comfortable even trying to analyse or develop a strategy because those things are probably what I perceive to be more my strengths, rather than having to be in the public eye."