Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan gives his thoughts on the first Test against Argentina, which saw the men in green pipped by two points in Santa Fe.
– ON THE IRELAND’S FIRST TEST DISPLAY –
“I suppose it was there for the taking but our discipline let us down at times. We gave away a lot of penalties – you could say the referee was harsh but he couldn’t have been wrong all the time.
“We paid the price for that at the end, when you lose the game by a couple of points.
“Having said that, we played a lot of good rugby out there. The pack played superbly. Our lineout was very good, we caused them endless problems in the lineout. We scrummaged very well, held onto the football and caused them lots of problems.
“To be fair to Argentina, they played well in the second half. I would say that once they took the lead with a couple of minutes to go, we showed a lot of character to come back and we set up the winning score. But it wasn’t to be, with Geordan getting blocked down.
“You can’t be too hard on the lads after that performance. We’re disappointed but not too down.”
– ON IRELAND’S DISCIPLINE –
“I thought we were sloppy with the referee. We weren’t listening to him enough. There might have been a problem there too in that for some strange reason, the referee wasn’t wired up to his touch judges. He was flying solo – that was tough going and I thought he did okay, he did a good job. He was hard on both sides and that’s fair.
“We need to improve our accuracy in the backs. You could see guys hadn’t played a lot together. There was a lot of inexperience out there when you think of the midfield that we put out.
“The oldest guy on the pitch with no caps in the back line. At the same time, fellas playing there who hadn’t played together before – that probably didn’t help us with our accuracy but you’ve got to do that, these are the risks you have to take.
“I thought we made some good line breaks and probably lost our composure. We could have been smarter by holding onto the football and punishing them.
“Had Geordan kicked that through we would have won and maybe I’d have a different look on my face. But you’ve got to step back from that and say: ‘look over 80 minutes, was I happy?’ And yeah, I’m happy we got a great performance from the boys. They worked very hard. Credit to them – they probably deserved a bit more in the end.”
– ON BRIAN CARNEY’S DEBUT –
“I thought Brian did very well. He read their attack brilliantly for the first try and picked it off beautifully.
“He had a tough job on his hards – he was one of the more experienced guys out there in the back line and had to do a lot of talking, as well as doing his own job.
“He made a few mistakes but that’s going to happen. It was a hostile enivornment. You don’t get any silence down here for your penalty kicks. It’s not Thomond Park.
“I thought Brian did well, a lot of the guys worked very hard. It’s hard to pick fellas out but at the end of the day, it was a chance for guys to impress and they’ve another one next week.”