Sean O'Brien hits back at "laughable" criticism of Ireland's style under Schmidt

He, Luke Fitzgerland, Brian O'Driscoll and Gerry Thornley shared their views on Off The Ball at the RDS

Sean O'Brien, Joe Schmidt

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt alongside Leinster and Ireland international Sean O'Brien ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Sean O'Brien has hit back at criticism of Ireland's game-plan under Joe Schmidt.

There have been questions asked of the attacking approach with a lack of offloads often cited, but O'Brien told Off The Ball that he found some of what has been said as "laughable".

The Leinster and Ireland flanker, who is currently injured, was speaking at the RDS alongside Brian O'Driscoll, Luke Fitzgerald and The Irish Times' Gerry Thornley ahead of Ireland's final Six Nations match against Scotland.

"For me, it's irrelevant. If I was in the squad now, I'd be saying the exact same thing. It's irrelevant to players, whoever outside the group [and] what they're saying and they're thinking. We know at the end of the day what we're about and what we're trying to do and you can be damn sure if me or Luke or even if Brian came back for one more year, we'd be firing an offload if we make a break or get over the gain-line. It's the first thing players do when you make a half-break," he said, before continuing.

"If we were programmed not to offload, we'd never look to do that. To us it's laughable at times, how much people home in on this and focus in on it."

He also disagreed with critics' claims that Ireland's attacking play has become scripted and controlled, saying, "while we have our game plan and while we have what we have to do on the field - and we do that to the best of our ability - nine times out of 10 it works out for us. Nine times out of 10 we'll score or we'll put pressure on the opposition to get points, whether it's a penalty or a try. You have to follow the script  as such as well but something happens in a game, you just play." 

Fitzgerald also echoed those comments about being able to go off script.

The panel also previewed Ireland v Scotland and made their predictions for how the game will pan out.