Ireland fell to a bruising 19-12 defeat to Japan on Saturday at the Rugby World Cup.
The hosts blitzed Joe Schmidt’s team in a relentless, breathless performance. At one stage of the match, Ireland were ahead 12-3. They scored two tries in the opening 22 minutes. However, at full-time, when it mattered, Japan had raced into a 19-12 lead.
The crowd at the Shizuoka Stadium pushed the home side on and, in the end, Ireland could have no complaints about the result. You could have got odds of 9/1 for Japan to win ahead of the match. This was a shock result. Yet, it didn’t seem that way in the RTÉ at full-time.
Following the match, two-thirds of the RTÉ panel were keen to focus on Japan’s stunning performance – rather than cast any type of a critical eye over Ireland for failing to score for an hour of the game.
Stephen Ferris, Jamie Heaslip and Eddie O’Sullivan all praised the performance of the hosts.
However, host Daire O’Brien appeared to feel that Ferris and Heaslip were focusing too much on Japan, and not enough on Ireland’s own shortcomings.
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) September 28, 2019
Ferris said it was “disappointing” to see Ireland lose, but Japan fully deserved it and did not allow their opponents to play their natural game. Heaslip stated that Ireland were not “efficient” enough.
At one point, O’Brien said: “Lads, if we were on Japanese television, we’d have no problem pointing out the excellence of their performance.”
O’Sullivan was the only one of the pundits to be critical of the Ireland team. The former Ireland coach said that the team that played the better rugby won and that it “frustrating” to see Schmidt’s side drift from their gameplan in the first half.
Otherwise, the RTÉ panel were reluctant to be critical of Ireland, despite the team losing to a tier-two nation after being nine points clear at one stage of the game.
You can watch the RTÉ panel here:
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) September 28, 2019