Eddie O’Sullivan has slammed Ireland for their performance against England, who were reduced to 14 men after just two minutes.
Ireland eventually came away with a bonus-point win at Twickenham to keep themselves in contention for both the Triple Crown and the Six Nations, although there is no shortage of reasons to be concerned for Andy Farrell.
It looked like Ireland were going to run away with the game early on, as James Lowe scored a try in the fifth minute and a Caelan Doris try was disallowed shortly afterwards, but England had somehow levelled the game with 20 minutes to go.
A late flourish did see Ireland secure a 17-point win, but former Ireland head coach O’Sullivan was thoroughly unimpressed when speaking on RTE after the game.
Eddie O’Sullivan unhappy with Ireland’s display at Twickenham.
“I’m not drinking the cool-aid on this one. This was a pretty poor performance. We didn’t put England away until the 72nd, 73rd minute, with 14 men for most of the game,” O’Sullivan commented.
“I thought we were pretty rudderless for most of the game. We pulled away in the end, England were out on their feet. We put together a nice passage of play and the try broke England and it was all over.
“But at three points [lead] with 10 minutes to go is shocking. Our scrum was a mess, our discipline was awful, our handling errors were off the charts. We still came away with a bonus-point win because England just ran out of gas.
“But no one is going to convince me that if England had 15 men today we would have won if we went out and played like that. If we played like that against 15 men today, we wouldn’t have won. That’s just a fact.”
“Our scrum was a mess” – Eddie O’Sullivan didn’t pull any punches as he assessed the Irish performance at Twickenham #RTErugby pic.twitter.com/qKGVmMhnVn
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) March 12, 2022
The Irish set-piece imploded at Twickenham.
Ireland scored four tries thanks to quick-paced play against a defence missing a man, although the scrum and lineout looked like it could cost Andy Farrell’s men the win at one stage.
England were utterly dominant at scrum time and won countless penalties as a result, while Ireland’s lineout also struggled to function without James Ryan in the second row.
There were also plenty of passes and offloads that didn’t go to hand, which kept England in the game, although Ireland ultimately came good in that area to run in a couple of late tries.
The men in green will be expected to beat Scotland and win the Triple Crown in Dublin next weekend, although they will be well aware that so many errors against a team with 15 men will be far more harshly punished.
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