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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

Schmidt found Ireland's performance hard to explain as his team fell at a familiar hurdle

Joe Schmidt admitted after the game that it was hard to find a reason for Ireland not performing against New Zealand, and Rory Best spoke about the pressure associated with a World Cup quarter-final.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

AND JUST LIKE that, it’s all over and the cycle towards Ireland’s 2023 World Cup quarter-final exit begins. 

With the dust settled on Ireland’s latest sobering on Saturday, Murray Kinsella and Eoin Toolan joined Gavan from Japan to reflect on the quarter-final hammering inflicted by the All Blacks. 

In what is due to be Joe Schmidt’s final post-match press conference as Ireland head coach, Murray Kinsella said that he didn’t have many answers for the waiting journalists. 

“Joe Schmidt’s first words in the post-match presser were: ‘I don’t have an excuse. It’s hard to find a reason’. They did attempt to trash it out a little bit and if that was the reason it kind of makes sense that they mentally got it wrong and built it up too much and there’s just so much pressure.”

Also due to be Rory Best’s final game of his career, the Irish captain mentioned that the mental barrier around the quarter-finals is huge. 

“I asked Rory Best what is it about quarter-finals that brings out the worst in Ireland and he said it’s the fact that we haven’t won one”, explained Murray. “And there’s so much pressure on it and it builds up for four years and you’re the team that’s got to break that duck. But clearly it was too much.

“And really, moving into the next cycle, you have to ask how are they going to negotiate this better? How do you mentally build up to it?”

“It’s a massive mental barrier that’s going to take a lot of hard work to get through.”


You can listen to today’s latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly in full here, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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