Keith Earls admits that Ireland haven’t been themselves in recent weeks but is confident that they will “click” sooner rather than later.
There has been no shortage of potential explanations for Ireland’s dip in form; injuries, undercooked players in key positions, potential bad blood between Munster and Leinster players due to the Thomond Park derby clash, Joe Schmidt’s departure at the end of the season and just general complacency.
Whatever the reason is, Ireland can take some solace in the fact that they have created a lot in recent weeks, it’s just the final pass or finishing aspect of these moves which have gone awry.
“It was another good session today,” Keith Earls said after Ireland training on Wednesday.
“We feel we’re training well but when we get out on the field on game day, we’re making a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes. All we can do is keep going and try to better ourselves and preparing.
“I know we haven’t been ourselves but we’re creating a lot and it’s going to have to click at some stage.”
The Limerick native can’t exactly put his finger on what has gone wrong for Ireland in recent weeks but he insists that there is no panic within the playing and coaching group despite that being the general tone in the media coverage surrounding the team after their latest performances.
“We haven’t changed anything. It’s a strange game. Bar New Zealand, teams go up and down. That’s just the life of rugby.
“We’re not getting frustrated. We’re not going into our shell or worrying, I think a lot of people outside the circle are. I think it’s just a little pothole we’re hitting but if we get one or two more passes away, we score a lot more tries.
“Take the small mistakes out of it and we’ll get back to ourselves soon enough.”
Earls believes that Ireland are victim of their own success in the sense that everyone expects them to thrash teams after their memorable 2018.
“I know the way we’ve been going, everyone expects us to blow every team out of the water now but that’s not the case.”
For Earls, his main focus now is taking on France on Sunday and with the likes of Yoann Huget, Thomas Ramos and Damian Penaud performing so well last time out against Scotland, the winger knows he will have his hands full.
“Yeah, they seem to be back to their old selves with the flair.
“Teams that give them loose ball like that, they can literally attack from anywhere. They can score a lot of tries in a lot of short minutes. That’s something that we have spoken about, hold onto the ball and when we do kick that it’s accurate.
“We can’t afford to have Ramos and Huget and Penaud running back at us with lots of space against an unstructured defence.”