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Schmidt upbeat on Ireland's performance, downbeat on Carbery

The Ireland camp are pushing the positives of the win over 20th-ranked Russia.

Ireland players salute the crowd post-match.
Ireland players salute the crowd post-match.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

JOB DONE. A win is a win. The party line was predictable and clearly marked after Ireland’s 35-0 slow march to victory over Russia.

Though Joe Schmidt’s side scored five tries, moved top of Pool A and kept a hard-working opponent to nil, they often looked bereft of attacking ingenuity as a litany of errors kept them from a making a coherent riposte after Saturday’s loss to Japan.

“For us, I thought we created lots,” Schmidt said in his post-match interview on RTE and he went on to describe the five tries Ireland ran in against the world’s 20th-ranked team.

“The biggest gap was waiting on that fourth try, that was a bit nerve-wracking,” he admitted.

“In the context of the tries we scored, you always want more, but a 35-point margin is pretty good.”

Asked if the lack of cohesion in the period after half-time – before Andrew Conway’s 61st-minute try sealed the bonus point – was a source of frustration, Schmidt highlighted the difficulty of the slippery handling conditions under the roof in Kobe.

“We did some really good things in that period after half-time. We just couldn’t get anything on the back of it. There was a line-out we made metres from, but we got a bit untidy.

“As soon as we get untidy and got hit with the ball, the ball was a bar of soap.

“Before we played here there were 65 handling errors. I was hoping we wouldn’t reach that level, but between us and Russia…”

After a dismal spectacle, even the injury count couldn’t be held up as a silver lining. Joey Carbery was withdrawn from the matchday squad before kick-off, replaced in the 21 shirt by Conor Murray who didn’t appear off the bench.

Jordi Murphy’s World Cup could well be over just days after his arrival in Japan as he was nursing a rib injury when he was withdrawn after 26 minutes.

Jonathan Sexton was replaced by Jack Carty at half-time, but Schmidt says it was always the plan to ease the Leinster out-half back into action. The Kiwi looked far less certain when giving an answer on Carbery, however.

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“Johnny’s alright. the plan was to play 40 this week, 60 next week.  

“Joey is… in the end, Conor was keen to play.

“Just after the captain’s run (Carbery) jarred his heel into the ground. So there might be a bit of bruising in the ankle. But he should, hopefully, be fine.”

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Sean Farrell

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