Ireland back-rower CJ Stander has ranked the side’s loss to Japan on Saturday as one of the worst disappointments of his career.
Joe Schmidt’s side walked away from the Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka with only a losing bonus point following the 19-12 result, leaving them second in Pool A behind the hosts while Scotland and Samoa do battle today.
While his infamous return to South Africa in which he was red-carded for a hit on Pat Lambie remains the biggest disappointment of his career, Stander admits that Saturday’s game was close.
“It’s up there, I’d say it’s close to the bottom (biggest disappointment). My red card (against South Africa in Cape Town, 2016) is probably always going to be at the bottom. But it’s close to the bottom.”
Ireland were in control of the pool following their impressive victory over Scotland in round one and the Munster man maintains that the side must rediscover their consistency if they are to progress in the tournament.
“It’s just in a few games that we’ve missed the consistency we want from ourselves. We drive ourselves by high standards in what we do on the pitch, so we just need to be consistent in our process and what we do.
“If we can just build on the moments we have and use opportunities then we can get points on the board. Sometimes if you lose those moments against a team like Japan, then you’re going to get let down.”
Ireland were dealt a further blow over the weekend with the news that Jack Conan has been ruled out of the rest of the Rugby World Cup with a foot injury after someone stepped on him.
Conan, who produced a strong performance from the bench against Scotland, will be replaced by Ulster’s Jordi Murphy who featured for Ireland in the 2015 tournament.
Stander believes the 28-year-old will have no problem slotting in the squad.
“Jordi always fits right in. He’s been a part of this team even before me so were we’re looking forward to getting him back in. He’s going to bring good balance in our back row.
“He’s someone who understands the game, someone who will bring a lot of energy. His ball carrying and his defence are very good so we’re looking forward to having him in there.”