Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

Ireland face 'nerve-wracking' 6 Nations campaign following Scotland defeat - Kearney

A second loss in the RBS 6 Nations is not an option, says the Ireland full-back.

Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

LOSING LAST SATURDAY’S RBS 6 Nations opener to Scotland has left Ireland in a perilous and ‘nerve-wracking’ position for the remainder of the championship.

That’s the verdict from Rob Kearney following the 27-22 defeat against the hosts at Murrayfield.

A positive start for Ireland would have provided the springboard for a Triple Crown assault and possible Grand Slam tilt but both prospects were shattered by a fired-up Scotland outfit.

And Kearney has warned his team-mates that a second defeat in the competition simply not an option, as Ireland prepare for next Saturday’s trip to Rome, and a clash with Italy.

“The first one is always the toughest game, and if you lose the first one it always makes the rest of the championship tough and nerve-wracking, because you can’t afford to lose another one.

“So yeah, it is tough. We have had a massive wake-up call now. We have to go to Italy and put in a proper performance.”

Rob Kearney is tackled into touch by Sean Maitland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Kearney also watched Finn Russell pull the strings for the Scots – but admits that Ireland didn’t lay a finger on the Glasgow Warriors out-half.

Russell made some errors but found his intended targets for the most part, gained yards, forced some turnovers and showed a good variation in his play.

But Kearney insists that Russell was afforded too much room in which to operate.

“Our line speed was so poor in the first half,” Kearney reflected.

“There were times there when we just chasing shadows a little bit.

“(In) the second half we did improve quite a bit but we had to.

We let Finn Russell play the game all day long, there wasn’t a speck of dirt on him coming off.

“I said during the week, the margins are so small and if you’re off just a fraction you get shown up. You can never put it down to one thing.

Finn Russell celebrates winning Finn Russell savours that winning feeling. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“All your energy between now and next week has to go into getting a good start (against Italy).

“Your line speed is the best way to get into a game sometimes.

“You get good line speed, you win your collisions, you slow the ball down and you turn over some ball. We did the complete opposite.

“We were soft, we weren’t winning the collisions, they were getting quick rucks and they were just toying with us for the first 20 minutes.”

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

And Kearney insisted that the team’s late arrival at Murrayfield shouldn’t be used as an excuse for a morale-sapping defeat.

“It wasn’t ideal but we’re not a team that uses excuses like that. I think it’s probably a little bit weak-minded to use excuses like that. It didn’t help but it wasn’t the reason we started slowly.”

Source: The42 Rugby Show/SoundCloud

Subscribe to The42 Rugby Show podcast here:

No new injury concerns for Ireland as Sexton and O’Mahony make ‘positive’ progress

Second Captains announce daily podcasts with introduction of new world service

About the author:

Read next: