Joe Schmidt Reveals The Areas Of Ireland’s Defeat That Hurt Him Most
The Ireland coach was asked, after his side were soundly beaten 43-20 yesterday, if Ireland’s slow start or failure to capitalise on the 23-20 scoreline was the most disappointing.
“Can I say that both were really disappointing?” Schmidt asked.
“It’s a tough one to call,” he continued. “Both were incredibly disappointing. You can’t afford to give such a good team a head-start like that.
“At the same time, at 23-20, we had a position in their 22 and worked an overlap that we didn’t quite go to. There’s a little bit of a lack of experience and that is disappointing.
“Once we were chasing the game at the end, there was always the potential for them to get a couple of breakaway tries because they’ve got such gifted players and we tended to force things in places you don’t need to. You chance your arm in positions you don’t need to.”
Schmidt added, “Dev was unlucky about [the high tackle penalty on] Sanchez, who I thought was imperious today… but I do think he milked that for everything it was worth.
“Once it got to 26-20 it made it that more difficult. That is not taking anything away from his or the Argentinean performance. They really were superb.”
Interestingly, Schmidt came back, time and again, to his team’s lack of experience.
No Peter O’Mahony, Paul O’Connell, Sean O’Brien and Johnny Sexton was just too much for Ireland in the end.
“A lot of guys have never experienced a game of that intensity… Scoreboard pressure lifted their confidence and knocked ours… I’m not saying [our players] were overawed by it.
Asked if Ireland truly, madly, deeply missed O’Connell, Schmidt reasoned, “That’s the nature of the game. It’s that attritional.
“I’m incredibly proud of the guys that stepped but and I know the guys that missed out are incredibly proud too.”