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Schmidt: 'I know we can get better than that, I know we have to'

The Ireland head coach admitted his team had come up short in ‘a litany’ of areas.

Murray Kinsella reports from Twickenham 

THAT IRELAND COULDN’T even get their replacements right – Conor Murray wasn’t supposed to come back onto the pitch after passing a first-half HIA – summed up a day when most things went badly wrong.

34 missed tackles, a 60% return on their own throw at the lineout, a stuttering attack, poor decision-making across the pitch, and a general sluggishness.

joe-schmidt Joe Schmidt watches on from the stand in Twickenham. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Joe Schmidt admitted afterward that there were “a litany” of areas in which Ireland had disappointed themselves. 

“I think we were underdone, we were a bit heavy-legged,” said Schmidt. “There doesn’t have to be too much of a margin between two teams, one v one, for one to be a bit sluggish and one to be on top of your game.

“Certainly, for some of their guys, they’ve had two games, this is their third game, and they looked sharper than we were.”

Schmidt has said in the past that he is always worried about Ireland, even after wins.

But surely this performance has him more concerned than usual as the World Cup looms?

“I know we can get better than that, I know we have to,” said Schmidt.

“I think the players will take responsibility for making sure that they do everything they can to turn it around next week and then build forward the week after that because what really matters is in four weeks’ time.

“We’ve got to go out and be as competitive and as accurate as we can be against Scotland. They had a 30-point margin against them last week and they turned around to win today [against France].

“So it’s a little bit what happens at this time of the year in the lead-up to a World Cup, you do get some disproportionate scores but we still have to accept that we were not nearly good enough today. We’ve got to be a lot better next time around.”

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josh-van-der-flier-and-tadhg-beirne-dejected Ireland were left reeling by Eddie Jones' side. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Next up, Ireland face Wales in Cardiff in the first of their back-to-back warm-up games against Warren Gatland’s men and it’s highly likely that many Irish supporters will now be watching on in trepidation.

Schmidt fully appreciates that he and his players need to find a convincing response to today’s humbling in Twickenham.

“You’ve got to make sure that you can rebound from this and get a number of the different elements in the game back in order,” said the Ireland boss.

“There were so many aspects that we didn’t get right today that we look disheveled out there, to be honest.   

“I know we had to make a number of changes and hopefully the guys who came off are OK. There are a number of things we’re going to have to look at over the next 48 hours and try to build forward from.” 

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Murray Kinsella

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