Six Nations 2017: Ireland won't target under-fire George North says Joe Schmidt

George North loses possession at Murrayfield on 25 February
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards criticised North's display in the defeat by Scotland
Six Nations: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Friday, 10 March Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, plus live text commentary via the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has played down suggestions that his side will target under-fire Wales wing George North in Friday's Six Nations game.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards said North was handed "a warning" for his defending in the defeat by Scotland.

However, Schmidt has made clear he is an admirer of North's abilities.

"If you've seen the size, the strength, the speed and the agility of such a big man, why would you go looking for George North?" said Schmidt.

"I know it doesn't leave you a lot of options, because Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams are no shrinking violets either, and Liam Williams was an absolute superstar against New Zealand.

"They do have a lot of threats across the board and I don't think we're wilfully going to go looking for George North to see if his defensive game is up to it because we've seen him do incredibly well defensively."

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt says Ireland 'won't go looking for George North'

Schmidt surprised by extent of North criticism

Schmidt added that he was surprised by the extent of the criticism directed at the Northampton wing following the 29-13 defeat at Murrayfield.

"I didn't think it was a shocking day by any means, there's been a fairly tough reaction to such a good player.

I think he will have a big one [game] this time, unfortunately.

"I'm sure he's highly motivated to have a really good game, as are the rest of the Welsh XV."

Ireland likely to keep Cardiff roof open

Schmidt hinted that the Ireland management are likely to ask for the Principality Stadium roof to remain open if the weather is dry on Friday.

The visitors will have the final say over the issue.

"There is no decision as yet. We're just waiting for a formal request [from Wales] to make a decision. The later that request comes the better accuracy there is in terms of the weather forecast.

"If it's fine [weather] there wouldn't seem too much point in closing the stadium. The surface can get slippery when the roof is closed.

"We'll make a decision probably when we're over there and we'll get more clarity from there."

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