Ireland’s Six Nations dreams are over for another year after a 22-9 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.
Joe Schmidt’s side were full of optimism going into the encounter at the Principality Stadium, but two tries from George North meant that Ireland were facing an uphill struggle to get the win, before Jamie Roberts finally killed the tie late on.
While Ireland were many peoples’ favourites for the championship this year, they now find themselves heading into next week’s clash against England at the Aviva Stadium with relatively little to play for – barring pride and finishing as high up the table as possible.
Schmit spoke to RTE Sport after the game, where he reflected at a bad night at the office and admitted that a number of small mistakes cost the team dearly over the course of the 80 minutes, though did praise their spirit:
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) March 10, 2017
“I think both teams were so willing and the endeavour was such that it was very difficult to sat really what was going to happen next.
“It went from 100mph to just plain attritional at times.
“As soon as you got a bit of speed into the game and you got close it all tended to slow down. We got stung for that and conceded 10 points in minutes in the sin bin period. I really admired the way the team clawed their way back.
“Conceding the last try, we were try to do a whole lot off slow ball going backwards and in the end we set ourselves up to be scored against.
“We made some pretty good line breaks; we made some good opportunities.
“In each half we got the maul going and then undid ourselves effectively. A couple of other things we just didn’t quite finish off.”
Schmidt must now lift his players for the England clash next week, in a game that could turn into a damp squib in Dublin (unless the possibility of ending Eddie Jones’ hopes for another grand slam and their unbeaten run is still on the table).