The challenge ahead is much more pronounced with a rejuvenated England under Eddie Jones awaiting them in the weekend. And Schmidt was quick to acknowledge that the unfamiliarity that Jones brings, is a tricky challenge for Ireland.
Ulster wing Craig Gilroy, Munster second row Dave Foley and Leinster back row Jordi Murphy are all added to the squad for the Saturday’s clash at Twickenham. They would be replacing the injured trio of Mike McCarthy, Sean O’Brien and Dave Kearney.
Ireland would need a positive result this weekend after their slender defeat to France. They would love to repeat what happened at the Aviva stadium last year, where a victory over England set them on their way to a title win.
Lot has changed, though, for the Red Roses from last year and currently they lead the 6 Nations table with two victories in the first two rounds. But Jones isn’t taking anything for granted and recalled Luther Burrell for his 32-man squad.
Burrell started every match of the last year RBS 6 nations and had a successful partnership with Jonathan Joseph. He missed the disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign but the 28-year-old wasn’t given an immediate chance by Jones in the first two matches of this year RBS 6 Nations Championship.
The Northampton Saints man has been called up as injury cover for Ollie Devoto. There are changes elsewhere too for England with Sam Hill, Elliot Daly and Kieran Brookes linking up with the squad.
Back-row forward Josh Beaumont, who sustained a dislocated shoulder while in action for Sale Sharks, is absent from the squad giving him time to recover. The Red Roses’ forwards coach Steve Borthwick believes that the squad is capable of the challenges ahead of facing Ireland, Wales and France.
No doubt it would be challenging times for both Ireland and England, although for different reasons.