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England in 2007, France in 2011, the Springboks in 2015, Ireland in 2019?

Defence coach Andy Farrell believes Ireland can bounce back from their shock defeat to Japan.

THE FACT THAT every previous World Cup winner has won all of their games on the way to lifting the trophy has been much discussed in recent weeks.

Wales, England, France, Japan and – barring a major shock today – New Zealand are in the category of still unbeaten in the 2019 tournament.

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland, meanwhile, have already suffered a major setback with Saturday’s shock defeat to the Japanese, an upset that has left many supporters pessimistic about their chances of going deep in this competition.

andy-farrell Andy Farrell believes Ireland can bounce back positively. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ireland, however, are looking at World Cup success from a different viewpoint now.

They have noted that England were hammered 36-0 by South Africa in the pool stages of the 2007 tournament but recovered to reach the final, where they were narrowly edged out by the Boks.

There was France in 2011, when les Blues lost two pool games including a shock defeat to Tonga, but got to the final and very nearly upset the All Blacks in that decider.

Schmidt’s men are also looking at the Springboks’ World Cup in 2015, when the South Africans were stunned by Japan but recovered to reach the semi-finals, where they came close to beating the All Blacks, losing on a 20-18 scoreline.

Speaking after their captain’s run in Kobe today, ahead the clash with Russia tomorrow, assistant coach Andy Farrell cited those three examples when asked if Ireland can bounce back.

“I think you can use a setback in the right manner,” said Farrell.

“I think you can look at the last three World Cups, South Africa lost to Japan and lost the semi-final 20-18, you look at 2011 France looked in disarray and there’s a debate about whether they should have won the final.

“In 2007, I was part of the England squad that got a thrashing against South Africa. There was a bit of turmoil in that camp and they managed to get to the final. There was a debatable try that was disallowed. You can use these to your advantage, they’re not ideal but if you use them to your advantage they can be powerful.

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“After a couple of days of understanding the reasons why, we’re in good spirits, back on track and ready to prove a point.”

bundee-aki-and-jordi-murphy Ireland had their captain's run in Kobe today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

From a defensive point of view, Ireland struggled against Japan at times, conceding the crucial second-half try that allowed the Brave Blossoms to finally take the lead.

But Farrell also picked out defensive moments that made him proud even in defeat.

“We lost, so it wasn’t good enough. There’s a lot of disappointment within the camp, we’ve had a good few meetings since then, and the feeling in the camp is one of excitement and wanting to put things right on the pitch on Thursday night. That can’t come quick enough.

“As far as the defensive performance, it’s a mixed bag, to be honest. There are certain things I’m unbelievably proud of them for.

“If you look at that bonus point at the end, Keith Earls chasing back and it wasn’t just that, it was getting back on our line and forcing – it might be an unforced error in their minds – but we was ready to go.

“The three minutes just before half-time when they had a scrum on halfway and we kept them out there, Josh [van der Flier] chasing back and making sure he gets there – some heroic stuff from certain lads.

“But, yeah, it’s not the usual defensive pressure performance we saw the week before, you’ve seen big performances from ourselves.

“There’s a lot of reasons for that, Japan have a massive part to play in that. Collision-winning wasn’t where we wanted it to be and, again, there’s certain reasons for that.

“Three tied into rucks from time to time, certain tactics that Japan used in and around the ruck to make that happen had an effect as well. But when you lose collisions you tend to put yourself in a vulnerable position, especially out wide.

“As I said, the stuff that was going on in and around the breakdown is stuff that we need to take care of ourselves.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Kobe

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