Schmidt pleased to see Ireland emerge from 'arduous' test

Jonathan Sexton during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth

Jonathan Sexton during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt

Sexton got Ireland back in front by one with a penalty on halftime, but flanker Sean O'Brien had just walked off cradling a broken right arm in his first test in a year.

Schmidt has already said he would make a decision on his future after the November internationals in Europe, and the Ireland Rugby Football Union have acknowledged they have begun to contemplate 2020 without him. I'm assuming Conor Murray will play so they've got a good spine, him and Sexton are two of the best players in the world.

Best believes Schmidt has transformed Irish rugby at every level and insisted his legacy will last for generations, well beyond whenever he eventually calls time on his current coaching stint.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt warned his side not to look forward to the world champion All Blacks next weekend, and the Pumas squeezed any lingering slumber out of the Irish with a combative effort that kept the match close for more than an hour.

In some ways, it has changed the complexion of the relationship - put New Zealand on notice that they are facing a team that now has the capacity to hang in for 80 minutes rather than 70.

Best, who will earn his 112th cap on Saturday, was unequivocal about where Schmidt stood in terms of who he had been coached by. So that's who you want in charge of the national team. I'm not saying that to stir any trouble or anything, I just think he's a real competitor, he'll want to play and if he's got a chance I reckon he'll probably play. It's plain to see in the silverware and that speaks for itself.

"It was to take the pressure off him", Schmidt said.

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The irony is that a team coached by Mario Ledesma didn't come with a scrum worthy of the name. "We know we are going to have to be a lot better".

"Simon has obviously been a head coach at Scarlets, Faz has coached at Saracens, he's coached at England and he's been involved in a massive part of our success here".

"In particular, this is our first southern hemisphere game of this series and you saw in Australia, the way that southern hemisphere rugby is played is worth a fair bit of freedom".

"There are options and there are plenty of good young coaches".

Murray, rated the finest halfback in the global game, hasn't played since Ireland clinched their series in Australia last July because of a neck injury.

"I don't think it really spills over into the narrative", he said.

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