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Schmidt laments a lack of 'simmering physical intensity' in four-try loss to England
‘I don’t think I’ve seen a game where our opponents got so many physical, dominant tackles.’

Sean Farrell reports from Aviva Stadium

JOE SCHMIDT ADMITTED there was a ‘reality check’ for Ireland in their bruising 20-32 loss to England.

England’s bonus point success was Schmidt’s first home loss in the Six Nations, and his first home defeat in any Test since the All Blacks’ revenge mission in 2016.

While the Kiwi bemoaned the physical treatment of Keith Earls early on and Jerome Garces’ attempts to keep order on the breakdown, he also said his players had been bullied in a manner he had nt seen since that fiery loss to the world champions.

“It’s something that happened two years ago against the All Blacks, we got bullied here. You’ve got to be prepared to give as good as you get. I don’t we did tonight,” said Schmidt.

Tadhg Furlong with Maro Itoje and Mark Wilson Billy Stickland / INPHO Itoje meets Tadhg Furlong head on. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

“I know the players are  disappointed that we probably didn’t have the same physical edge as they did. We don’t have the same personalities. I don’t think we got a turnover on the ground tonight. There was very little that was allowed to happen on the ground, a lot of people off their feet. It turned into a muddy battle that’s very difficult to contest in.”

That slow ball in turn gave England the ideal springboard to unleash a suffocating defensive effort that negated the influence of Jonathan Sexton and Bundee Aki.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a game where our opponents got so many physical, dominant tackles. Where our opponents have carried physically in the manner that they did.

“It wasn’t a surprise to us, we knew that power that they bring to the game. To contain those guys is difficult.

“Our ball was slow, it gives them an opportunity to take pot-shots and they took those shots well.

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Henry Slade celebrates scoring a try with Manu Tuilagi Gary Carr / INPHO Manu Tuilagi celebrates Henry Slade's try. Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

“When that happens you’re forced to go to the air because it’s the only way you can progress. And we couldn’t really get into the aerial battle. There were a lot of white jerseys in front of any aerial contest. Maybe we were too honest there.”

Being more street-wise, being a little more vicious in the physicality stakes will be essential if Ireland are to finally go a step beyond the last eight in this year’s World Cup. Because South Africa or New Zealand will see the blood in the water from this outcome.

“Yeah, that is a reality check, that’s how it’s going to be. That’s why England are such a, literally, a big team.

“They did really well tonight. it’s hard to take anything away from England. The intensity they brought to the game, it was more a simmering physical intensity that they collectively delivered that made it a suffocating place to be out on the pitch.”

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