'We were screaming for it out wide' - Ireland rue major missed chance

Ireland spurned a major overlap wide on the right late in the Millennium Stadium.

Murray Kinsella reports from the Millennium Stadium

IT WAS THE biggest missed chance of the game, maybe even the championship.

With 66 minutes played and Ireland a metre from the tryline, they had two players to spare on the right-hand side. As glaring an overlap as you’ll come across; surely the ball had to go?

Tommy Bowe Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Jared Payne and Tommy Bowe flailed and flapped their arms trying to draw their teammates’ attention to the space and lack of defenders in front of them, but their signals were in vain.

Scrum-half Eoin Reddan was buried at the bottom of the ruck, and Ireland’s forwards kept the ball tight. The result? A knock-on over the line and the opportunity blown.

“We were screaming for it out wide but with the noise and the atmosphere in that stadium, it is very hard to hear anything,” explained right wing Bowe post-match at the Millennium Stadium.

Our scrum-half was in the ruck, so for the forwards to have to throw a pass out… it is something we will work on. Whenever you are that close to the line, you want to, I’m sure what’s going through their heads is that they [the forwards] want to get over and score.

“They are the small margins I suppose. Whenever we give a 12-point lead to a team with such class as Wales, playing catch up, you need to take your chances when you get them.”

Was this a summation of Ireland’s biggest weakness in one moment? They have little problem earning field position or dominating territory, but how clinical are they when camped in the opposition 22?

It’s surely not beyond the skill level and vision of some of these Irish forwards to lift their heads and glance at the defensive line for an indication of where the space is. Sometimes bludgeoning over with narrow carries isn’t the answer.

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Joe Schmidt Do Ireland need to rethink their tactics in the opposition 22? Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

One for Schmidt and his players to lose sleep over perhaps.

“We will be hurting now,” said Bowe. “We are disappointed 100%. The changing room and the boys, it’s very quiet in there with what we let slip there, but we will straight back to camp, Carton House tomorrow and we’ve got it all to play for.

“It would be the first time for an Irish team to win back to back titles in I don’t know how long, so there’s still a huge amount to play. It’s a massive match in Murrayfield next week and we will be pumped up for it.”

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Murray Kinsella

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