first_imgSchmidt: ‘Nothing mitigates losing the way we did. It’s an unacceptable result’ The Ireland head coach hopes a number of changes in personnel will help his team bounce back this weekend. Short URL Aug 27th 2019, 3:52 PM JOE SCHMIDT DOESN’T usually present himself in front of the media this early in the week, but then again, the brutal and sobering evisceration suffered at the hands of England was a result and performance completely out of the ordinary. The Ireland head coach normally entrusts his coaching team to deliver the first message of match week in Carton House, but Schmidt, in breaking from the norm and appearing for this afternoon’s press conference, stepped up and took responsibility. Schmidt speaking at Carton House today. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHOAs he always does, Schmidt spoke very well at the top table, answering a wide range of questions and offering an honest and blunt assessment of the shortcomings that contributed to Ireland missing 37 tackles, conceding eight tries and leaking 57 points in London. “It’s an unacceptable result for us,” Schmidt began. “It was a performance beneath where we’d like to be. It’s a performance beneath where we need to be. The whole group are very, very conscious that we have a short period of time to make sure we accelerate what is part of our progression.“We did try and have a very rigorous pre-season and the pre-season really ran up until the Portugal camp. We tried to taper a little bit towards the end of the week but, really, we looked flat, we looked slow. We were inaccurate and didn’t adjust when we could see where we were getting trouble.”With many of Ireland’s front-liners making their first appearance of pre-season, Ireland were completely off the pace, in terms of physicality, fitness and cohesion, against Eddie Jones’ side, while the complete malfunction of the lineout was perhaps the most disconcerting element of it all.As England produced a performance brimming with confidence, conviction and swagger to enhance their World Cup credentials, here was a worrying and serious wake-up call for Ireland just three weeks out from their campaign opener against Scotland on 22 September.“We’ve got a count of 37 missed tackles,” Schmidt lamented. “For us to be below 80% in a tackle count when we’re looking for 90%+, we know we can’t afford to offer a team the size, the skill and experience of England that amount of latitude. And we gave them way too much latitude.”The Kiwi was not prepared to find excuses for his players, although the head coach was quick to point to the fact that these warm-up games can often throw up ‘bizarre results’ as teams work their way through different stages of pre-season.“Nothing mitigates losing the way we did,” he stressed. “We’re not going to make excuses for that because we know where we are in our progression and we’ve tried to periodise our lead-in to the World Cup.“And I do think at this time of the cycle every four years, you get some pretty, I wouldn’t say bizarre results, but you get some imbalanced results. Because different teams are at different stages. One of the advantages for England is they’ve had good clarity. They’ve named their 31 and know where they’re at. It’s their third game and for most of our guys who played on Saturday, it’s their first game.“I’m determined to stay realistic in comparison to our opponents, but where we have to be this weekend is a different story and where we have to be the weekend after is another different story. The Ireland team during Tuesday’s session. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO“We need to see how much more competitive we can be in the space of a week. And there will be a number of changes for this coming weekend.”After similarly chastening reversals to England and Wales during the Six Nations, Saturday’s showing only adds to the concern surrounding Ireland, and the form of key players, as the World Cup draws ever closer.But Schmidt, having shaped and moulded and built his team over the four-year cycle, is not prepared to press the panic button just yet, and he hopes a number of changes in personnel this weekend can yield the desired effect against Wales in Cardiff [KO 2.30pm, Channel 4].By referring to New Zealand’s ability to bounce back in the space of a week against Australia in the recent Rugby Championship, Schmidt is confident Saturday was an aberration and nothing more terminal for this Ireland side. Share1 Tweet Email Sunday will be a day of sitting down and making sure we can get the selection as well-balanced as we can make it to get the right people to springboard into that final game against Wales and then onto the World Cup.Schmidt will finalise his 31-man squad for Japan after Saturday’s third warm-up game at the Millennium Stadium, but it won’t be announced to the public until after the return fixture against Wales at the Aviva Stadium on 7 September.Connacht’s Jack Carty is in line for a first Test start at out-half, while the likes of James Ryan and Jack Conan could be set for their first appearances of the summer, although Johnny Sexton’s involvement may be limited to a bench role.On the outside noise surrounding Rory Best’s position as captain after a poor performance from the Ulster captain at the weekend, Schmidt insisted there was ‘no internal noise of that nature.’“There are guys who are going to get an opportunity this weekend and if they perform better than any player who played last weekend then there is always a contest and you have got to keep that contest live,” he added. “We have seen that in other teams.“We saw an All Black team that was beaten 47-26 come out and win 36-0 with a number of changes, where established players were left out and new, fresh players came in and put them under pressure. So players will be conscious of that.” The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us! Get the latest Rugby World Cup news and analysis, delivered straight to your inbox: “To throw everything out would be a mistake,” he says. “There were a couple of aspects that weren’t too bad. I felt we found a little bit of space in behind them a few times, there were a couple of glimpses of some pretty good structure and getting over the advantage line. And some pretty good defence a few times. “We are still in what we would determine as a building phase. A clarification phase for selection and once this weekend is over, effectively selections are done. Tuesday 27 Aug 2019, 3:52 PM 20,559 Views Follow us: 42 Comments Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article By Ryan Baileylast_img read more