Sean McMahon reporting from Shizuoka.
You couldn’t help but feel sorry for Cian Healy in the aftermath of Ireland’s loss Japan on Saturday.
The powerful loosehead prop cut a downcast figure as he walked through a packed media mixed zone amid journalists probing with questions about Ireland’s shock defeat.
But as ever, Healy spoke incredibly well despite the downbeat circumstances and before he could even think about where it wrong for Ireland, he first of all called out his own performance which he says wasn’t good enough.
“I’m not sure if I’ve digested what the hardest part of that was,” Healy sighed.
“Personally, I didn’t have a good game and that’s stinging with me a little at the moment. I’ll go into the review room now for the night and look over it and take my learning from it personally and as a group. Tomorrow, kick-on and get into recovery mode, get into preparation mode and plan for the week ahead.”
The scrum was one of the talking points of the game and Ireland dominated this area of the game initially but like all other facets of the 80 minutes, the tide turned in the home side’s favour after the midway point of the first half.
In terms of the officiating of the scrum, Healy had no problem with it.
“We just take that out of the equation. You play what you’re dealt and that’s always the situation. You shouldn’t have to rely on anything else but your team and what you can put together. We didn’t get to put a lot together and that’s credit to the Japanese line speed and their defence and how they play the game.
“They had an incredible game. You could see they were working as one, they really had clarity in what they wanted to do and they made life difficult for us.”
Ireland have bounced back from disappointing results before and they will need to draw on that experience again if they are to do what no other Irish side has done at a World Cup.
“Hopefully, that’s what the next couple of days relies on, isn’t it? Like I said, take the learnings from it and bring that in and use it to get tighter as a group.
“You don’t need extra motivation in a World Cup but something like that is going to have to do it for you because it’s too easy to get knocked out and go home. We’ve got big goals for this tournament and we have to turn the page, take our learnings and bounce back.”