'We've only got ourselves to blame' -- Joe Schmidt

The Kiwi lamented the loss of the aerial battle as Wales shaded all the fine margins in Cardiff.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IRELAND COACH JOE Schmidt cut a disconsolate figure after Ireland’s 23 – 16 defeat to Wales in the Millennium Stadium.

Scott Williams second half try put the Grand Slam beyond Ireland and reeled the reigning champions back into a title race with their hosts today and England.

“When you know it’s going to be such a fine margin, when those things escape you you know you’ve got to fight your way back in to the game,” the New Zealander told RTE post-match.

“I thought we did that really well and even right at the end I thought we got our maul set up really well and it was disappointing not to come out with one point at the end of it.”

Though he needed little reminding that the Championship remains an active target despite the loss, Schmidt moves to compare the loss in Cardiff to his last.

I thought we responded really well when we lost by a one-score margin against England. But I thought we played pretty well in Twickenham. Today, we let ourselves down a little bit and we probably had enough possession and territory to win the game.

“A lot of credit falls on the Welsh defence and a bit of our inaccuracy.”

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He added: “The fine margins got away on us.

“We probably lost the battle in the air, we got slow ruck ball in that second half – the way it was in the first half, if you were at all near the ball you were quickly penalised – we just didn’t get that consistency in the second half. And we didn’t quite get the speed of ruck ball that would have helped us, but we didn’t help ourselves.

“We’ve only got ourselves to blame and a lot of credit has to go to the Welsh defence. They made a lot of tackles and they hung in really well when we did get pressure inside their 22.”

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Sean Farrell

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