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Johnny Sexton has outlined that he feels Ireland’s defeat to Japan on Saturday may end up being “blessing in disguise” given that it occurred in the pool stages and not the knockout stages of the competition.

Ireland were shocked by the hosts in their second game in Pool A as a stunning second half performance saw Japan pick up one of the biggest victories in their history.

Schmidt’s side were lacklustre throughout and their opponents were deserved winners on the day, however they are still in with a strong chance of reaching the quarter-finals should they pick up bonus point wins over Georgia and Russia.

Sexton was not involved in Saturday’s defeat but speaking to the media in Kobe on Sunday, outlined that he felt the defeat could be blessing in disguise given that the loss hasn’t come in the knockout stages.

“There’s lots of little things that we don’t normally do that we did yesterday. We’ve got to figure out what happened and I suppose the only blessing in disguise is that, in the last two World Cups that I’ve been involved in, we’ve not cruised through the group but we’ve had everything go our way in the pool stages, and then we’ve had the day that we had yesterday – in a quarter-final. We’d be going home today (if Saturday was a knock-out match).

“The great thing now is that we’ve got the rest of the pool to get things together. If we can win the last two games and score a number of tries we can definitely qualify for the quarter-final.

“If that’s in first or second place, that’s out of our control, so we won’t worry about that – that’s done now. So it’s up to us now to put in two big performances and hopefully put ourselves into a quarter-final. We know if we do that, then we’ve got a chance.”

The Leinster outhalf continued by outlining that he felt it wasn’t one isolated thing which caused Ireland’s defeat, it was number of different factors but explained that their discipline wasn’t good enough on the day.

“It wasn’t one thing. Discipline. Any marginal decisions, we seemed to be on the wrong side of them, which is fine. We looked at those penalties today, penalties we gave away, and we’ve got to look at ourselves and say our discipline wasn’t good enough.

“There’s a lot of access points we gave them and discipline would be top of the list. We had them under pressure a few times and we let them out. We didn’t exit a couple of times as well as we should have.

“So there’s one or two things in each department that added up. They played great on the day and you’ve got to give them a lot of credit as well.

“I thought the boys started really well – 12-3 up and we couldn’t have asked for much more in the first 20, 25 minutes. But those errors and access points just crept in.”

Ireland must now attempt to bounce back from the disappointing defeat to the hosts when they take on Russia on Thursday.

Joe Schmidt will be without Munster centre Chris Farrell for the clash after forwards coach Simon Easterby confirmed he would miss the game as a result of a concussion.

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