The question that many would possibly ask after the Irish performances over the last three Six Nations weekends is that is the sides dip in play down to Joe Schmidt announcing his departure date.
The answer to that is simply yes. Evidence has shown that when a manager announces he is leaving there can be major dips in form. Look at Connacht as an example, when Pat Lam was in charge they were a very tough side to beat, they were Pro 14 champions. Once he announced he was leaving they hardly won a match.
The year Leicester City won the league Manchester City were still hot favourites to win the league, then came the announcement that Manuel Pellegrini was leaving at the end of the season and their form hit a huge dip and they failed to win the league.
Joe Schmidt announced that he will leave Ireland as head coach following the World Cup with Andy Farrell replacing him. Since the news settled into the players’ minds form has dipped in terms of what we saw in 2018. A poor performance against England at the Aviva followed up with two nervy wins away to Scotland and Italy.
So will Joe Schmidt be able to get the players back on track, are we suffering from the Icarus paradox?
Schmidt will want to go out with a bang but physiologically his players are not in a good mindset, he has a lot of players to come back from injury, but there will always be players out injured and it appeared we had a huge amount of talent outside the starting fifteen.
Just let’s hope the IRFU announcing his departure 12 months early will not cost Ireland a World Cup.