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Schmidt points to 'skinny' margins after Ireland's defeat to Wallabies

The Ireland head coach felt his side created chances but couldn’t find the finishing touch.

Murray Kinsella reports from Suncorp Stadium

JOE SCHMIDT POINTED to “skinny enough” margins as the difference between the teams in Ireland’s 18-9 defeat to the Wallabies in the opening game of their three-Test series.

Johnny Sexton dejected after the game Johnny Sexton shows his frustration at full-time. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Ireland head coach was as dejected as he always is following a loss but Schmidt is calm in his belief that his team were very close to beating the Wallabies in Brisbane.

Ireland didn’t manage to score a try against the Australians, who scored two through Bernard Foley and David Pocock.

The defeat means Ireland are under pressure to win the second Test in Melbourne next week and Schmidt feels the gap is only a narrow one.

“I thought they were incredibly physical,” said Schmidt. “They persisted with a pretty effective tactic of cross-kicking and having Israel Folau going after them. He didn’t get them all but he got a few which allowed them to get in behind us and we were scrambling a little bit.

“We slipped off a few tackles, one early on Kurtley Beale where I thought Jacob Stockdale made an unbelievable tackle in the corner on Koroibete. They worked pretty hard at the scrum and got it to turn pretty well. I thought our lineout got some really good pressure on them and that was a positive for us.

“We got in behind them a couple of times and probably over-kicked the ball – once from Conor [Murray] when it went touch in goal and another from Jacob where it went off the side of his foot and straight into touch.

“We probably didn’t hold ono the ball as well as we would have liked. There was a lot of pressure at the ruck as well. Pocock obviously put a lot of pressure on and he always makes a big difference to a team. Apart from that, I don’t think there was too much between the teams.

“The other thing was that they [the match officials] might have asked the other question [when CJ Stander had a possible try disallowed]. It looked like he might have got it down.

Marika Koroibete with Rob Kearney and Conor Murray Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“At the same time, they [the Wallabies] got one pulled down [Folau's disallowed try] as well when it was a pretty clear that a player was taken out off the ball. We’ll just have to dust ourselves off.

“It’s nothing that we didn’t expect. They’re an unbelievably athletic and talented team. The last time they played here, as I said during the week, they beat the All Blacks.

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“That’s the level and we’ve got to be able to compete at that level and get the margins to fall our way, albeit they were pretty skinny today. With 14 minutes left we led 9-8 but you gotta lead after 80 minutes.”

Ireland’s failure to score a try was damaging and their attack looked blunt at times against a ferociously committed and hard-hitting Wallabies defence.

But Schmidt pointed out that Ireland had six linebreaks compared to the Wallabies’ four and he felt his team simply hadn’t been able to take their chances.

“There were some really good line breaks,” said Schmidt. “Obviously CJ’s one, a couple on the edge with Keith Earls getting on the right wing, Rob Herring gets through and tries to offload to Robbie Henshaw and I think Robbie might have even got into a bit more space but lost control of the ball.

“Twice we knocked the ball on at the ruck. There was some real frustration with the hand on the ball but we’ve got solve that. We’ve got to make sure that we are rock solid with that sort of thing.”

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Murray Kinsella

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