Joe Schmidt believes Ireland aren't "performing that much below" Six Nations-winning years

Ireland head coach was speaking at today's team announcement

Joe Schmidt, Ireland,

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt ©INPHO/James Crombie

As Ireland prepare for the Italy game, Joe Schmidt will be hoping for a first win of the campaign on Saturday.

Even with two more wins, Ireland will still fall short of the achievements of back-to-back Six Nations titles from the past two years. 

But despite being without a win so far in this year's championship, Schmidt still believes that the side hasn't regressed as much as some critics claim.

Speaking at today's team announcement, the head coach said: "I don't think that we're performing that much below what we were in the last two years. There are fine margins and we probably had a bit more experience to nut our way through things. I think our set piece with the people we had right through those periods was a little bit more of a platform that allowed us to be a little bit more secure in what we planned to do. So you're always trying to develop and grow a bit and there's evidence of that. You've just got to consolidate it."