Iain Henderson has spoken about the “sickening moment” when it dawned on him that Ireland were out of the 2015 rugby .
Joe Schmidt’s Ireland players trudged off the Millenium Stadium pitch after they were comprehensively beaten by Argentina in the quarter-final two weeks ago.
There was no post mortem and the dressingroom was a quiet, eerie place.
The Irish momentum could not be higher going into that match – on and off the pitch. Ireland had beaten France a week earlier in a Cardiff cauldron of noise and off the pitch there were trips to Alton Towers and golf with Rory McIlroy.
But all that was a distant memory a couple of hours after the final whistle when Argentina raised their arms victoriously and Irish players fell to the ground.
“Ger Carmody told us at 5.30/6pm to get our bags and get down to the bus, you’re getting shipped back home,” said Henderson on tonight’s Off The Ball on Newstalk.
“It was a sickening feeling in everyone’s stomachs thinking ‘that’s us going home now. That’s it over and done with’. That’s when the realisation hit that it was all over.
“It was frustrating ending the way it did but I think Argentina came out on the day and dominated us for the first 15 minutes and that’s what won them the game.”
Henderson also revealed that there was no post mortem following the quarter-final defeat to Argentina with Schmidt emphasising that that will happen before the Six Nations kicks off.
“People were having a wee chat about the game and people just sat there speechless for the rest of the journey. There was a good bit of silence in the dressingroom afterwards.
“Joe spoke to us and said ‘look, we are going to have a camp shortly after Christmas. Everyone is going to have more or less a week off now. Everyone has worked really hard the past two or three months. Go back, regenerate. You have everything to play for with your provinces’.
“It was a reality check. Going home was a bitter pill to swallow. I was kind of shocked by the players that were at the last World Cup when it happened then. They were as shocked as I was.
“I think that’s how much belief we had in ourselves as a team. We believed that we could do it. Even the boys who were in the same position four years ago were just as shocked and just as upset, even more upset.”