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Schmidt: 'We were probably a little bit naive. We missed a little bit of that experience'

Over and out as Pumas pummel their way into the Rugby World Cup semis.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND’S SLOW START left them with a mountain to climb, Joe Schmidt said after their heartbreaking World Cup quarter-final exit.

Ireland were 17-0 down and reeling after just 12 minutes in Cardiff as Argentina exploded from the traps and ran in two quick tries.

Tries from Luke Fitzgerald and Jordi Murphy helped cut the deficit to 23-20 but it was the Pumas who kicked on in the final quarter to seal a 43-20 win and a semi-final spot.

With a combined 240 caps between them, the loss of Paul O’Connell, Johnny Sexton and Peter O’Mahony to injury, and Sean O’Brien to suspension, was too much for Ireland to overcome.

“I’m incredibly proud of the way the players fought their way back into the game,” Schmidt told TV3.

“It was a very tough situation to find themselves in.

“We were probably a little bit naive. We missed a little bit of that experience and direction in the first quarter and they way they fought their way back to be down by 10 at half-time, and then by three, and in the 58th minute one kick away from maybe drawing level and giving ourselves a little bit of a kick of confidence.

I always felt watching the players, they felt that they had to keep chasing and keep chasing, and that’s going to take its toll.

Leonardo Senatore celebrates winning with his son Argentina's Leonardo Senatore celebrates. Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

Argentina’s ferocious intensity at the breakdown put Ireland on the back foot early on, Schmidt added.

“Usually you’d have a couple of voices there to say, ‘Lads, let’s not overcommit here, let’s keep our discipline.’

“It was just disappointing that we were in the situation that we were in. We probably lacked a little bit of the carry that we’d normally have but at the same time, you can’t fault effort.

No matter what happened today, I always felt that they’d put that effort in. The supporters are disappointed but nobody’s more disappointed than the players in the dressing room.

“You’re not making any excuses because the tournament can work out like that (with injuries). Through the last couple of years, we kept trying to build a squad, but unfortunately we’ve always had one or two of those guys available.

“To lose the group that we lost wasn’t great but at the same time, the guys who replaced them, Chris Henry, Jordi Murphy, huge work rates, you couldn’t fault their work ethic as frustrating as it is.”

A disappointed Ian Madigan was critical of his own performance after the game but Schmidt saw plenty of positives from his out-half.

I thought Ian Madigan did some super stuff in the game, He fought his way through the game. He tackled his heart out. I thought he made a great show of taking a few high balls under real pressure. He kicked well at goal and moved us around the pitch really well.

“The space was there when he looked to kick in behind, he just didn’t quite nail a couple of them. I think if nothing it’s a great learning experience for him.”

He added: “I just felt today we needed most things to fall our way. We needed a little bit of the rub of the green.

“We needed a little bit of that age-old Irish luck and unfortunately, we didn’t get too much of it and as a result it was a really tough battle out there. “

More quarter-final heartbreak as Ireland fail to recover from an early Puma mauling

Ireland’s defence shredded, leaders missed and more talking points from Cardiff

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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